2015 January - WBC press release

Press Release from WBC issued 7 January 2015:

Wokingham Borough Council continues to work with the owners of the garden centre at Hare Hatch Sheeplands to try and find a solution which will allow the business to continue on site at London Road in Twyford.

While the site falls within the greenbelt and has been operating as a garden centre without meeting planning regulations, the council recognises the business has an important role to play in the local area. It is committed to find a solution through negotiation with the owners but it must ensure the greenbelt is protected from unacceptable development.

It is vitally important the council upholds its planning policy to ensure the greenbelt is protected in the future. Therefore, any solution must be fully justified. And in December, the council requested further information from the owners of the site to enable such justification to be provided.

Cllr John Kaiser, executive member for highways and planning, said: "We are now waiting for the additional information to be provided by the owners of Hare Hatch Sheeplands in hope that a solution can be found in the very near future that will not undermine our planning policies. 

"We have been in negotiations with the owners since October 2012 after a number of planning breaches as site is located in green belt. We have a duty to protect the open character of this area."


We make our own press release in reply:

I was astonished and appalled to be inundated with phone calls from the media yesterday about a press release issued by Wokingham Borough Council in relation to our planning situation.

This is in clear contravention of our agreement to negotiate without involving the media. 

I have also had enquiries from our customers, our suppliers and the many organisations wanting to take public action on our behalf.

There are many local organisations who want to launch campaigns on our behalf, our suppliers are ready to take action and our customers want to know what is happening. We have played our part by keeping them all in check and asking them not to go public with their campaigns.

The council’s release has changed the situation so out of courtesy I want you to know that we have been forced into a position where we have no choice but to respond to the media enquiries.