Will Clacton get its Christmas Wonderland after all?

St John's Nursery's Winter Wonderland attraction

St John's Nursery's Winter Wonderland attraction - Credit: Archant

A nursery in Clacton can celebrate a merrier Christmas this year, because its fight against Tendring District Council (TDC) over its Winter Wonderland has been put on hold.

St John's Nursery Winter Wonderland

St John's Nursery Winter Wonderland - Credit: Archant

That’s because the site’s landowners have put in an application for more than 200 homes.

TDC had issued an enforcement notice against St John’s Nursery, in Earls Hall Drive, Clacton, and the landowners, believing the site to be operating outside of its planning permissions.

However, an appeal has been made by the nursery owners against the enforcement notice.

While the Planning Inspectorate has not yet accepted the appeal as valid, TDC has given a festive peace offering, saying it had “no reason” to doubt the appeal would be considered.

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In addition, the landowners at the nursery, Kelsworth Ltd, have submitted a planning application to TDC for redevelopment of the garden centre site, for 210 homes and eight live-work units.

In light of these events, TDC has halted its enforcement action pending the outcome of the appeal and planning application.

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But a statement from TDC stated that “officers will continue to monitor the nursery and its Winter Wonderland, including traffic and access issues, to gather evidence ahead of the enforcement appeal.”

Fred Nicholls, TDC Cabinet Member for Corporate Enforcement, said the news was a positive step forward in the long-running case.

“The appeal against the enforcement notice will put the case before an independent Inspector who can rule once and for all on the matter,” Cllr Nicholls said.

“The redevelopment proposals will be looked at on their own merits, as all planning applications are, and a decision either way issued accordingly.

“These proposals do not include a garden centre on the site, and I sincerely hope that St John’s Nursery has plans for a new home – which is legal and does not have the same issues with access – as we know it is a popular business.”

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