‘Santa is saved’ - Christmas Wonderland in Clacton ‘delighted’ after High Court bid to shut it down fails

Santa and his elves at Christmas Wonderland in Clacton. Picture: CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND

Santa and his elves at Christmas Wonderland in Clacton. Picture: CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND - Credit: Archant

Organisers of a Christmas Wonderland in Essex say they are delighted after a High Court bid to shut it down was rejected.

Tendring District Council’s (TDC) application for an injunction against the Christmas Wonderland in Clacton had led to it being called “Scrooges” and accused of “ruining Christmas for the kids”.

The council sought the injunction, claiming it was an unauthorised business and had defied a temporary stop notice.

However council bosses were left “disappointed” after a High Court judge refused the application yesterday.

Christmas Wonderland’s Tom Bowden said he was “delighted by the verdict”, which he claimed would save 120 jobs. “It would seem to be a complete waste of taxpayers’ money spent on London barristers, including time and effort, which could have been much better spent on fixing potholes and local education within Tendring district,” he added. “We understand that there are planning issues, but these could have been sorted differently without having to go this far. We will be working with TDC in January regarding 2018.”

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Christmas Wonderland’s Facebook post added; “Santa is saved”.

TDC claimed that despite the decision, the judge was critical of the operator’s behaviour.

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Council leader Neil Stock said TDC was right to take action.

“Taking this case to the High Court was not something we did without a great deal of thought and consideration,” he added.

“We needed to demonstrate that we will not stand idly by and allow a blatant disregard for the democratic planning process to go unchallenged. When a business sets out to operate illegally it sends a very poor message to those who obey the law and often have to pay a lot of money to ensure they do comply with relevant rules and regulations.”

Christmas Wonderland, which has seen St John’s Plant Centre transformed to offer visitors a “wonderland” of Christmas animations, Santa’s workshops as well as festive decorations and toys, will now remain open until Christmas Eve.

Visitors criticised the council’s actions, labelling it “killjoys” and “Scrooges”. Thousands signed a petition supporting the business.

Mr Boden thanked people for their support. “A lot of hard work has been put into creating Christmas Wonderland in Clacton, which is a wonderful experience for the whole family,” he added.

Follow Christmas Wonderland’s Facebook page for information.

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