Fen couple Mark and Sandra celebrate victory in the 2017 ‘War of the Roses’ as their tractor finally gets a new home
- Credit: Archant
Expanding rose growers Mark and Sandra Griffin won permission for a tractor shed despite planning officers claiming it would cause “unacceptable harm to the character of the open countryside”.
The decision to try and ban the couple from putting up the shed met with outrage from supporters and yesterday councillors at Fenland Hall backed them over their officers.
The planning committee rejected calls for the application to be refused and instead decided to “grant contrary to officer recommendation”.
Head of planning Nick Harding was also given delegated permission in conjunction with the chairman to agree relevant planning conditions.
Officers had claimed the Griffins failed to provide “sufficient justification” for the shed and wanted councillors to refuse it.
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They also claimed the site –south of Prospect House, Burrowmoor Road, March - is within flood zone 3 and has a “high risk” of flooding; the Environment Agency disagrees and says because of the “low risk nature” of the development they have no objection.
Officers insisted the building would present “an unattractive and visually intrusive feature” and “on balance” should be refused.
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But the planning committee heard from March Town Council who “strongly recommend approval” and from customers and friends of the Griffins.
Style Roses of Holbeach say they have been trading with the Griffins for 12 years and praised the “considerable personal and financial hardship” of the young couple as they built their business.
Rose growing is a tough market, says Style, and urged councillors to give Griffin Roses “the crucial support and help they require”.
Homestead Nurseries of Norwich believe the location of the new building “seems very suitable alongside other existing businesses” whilst Carney Agricultural Services of Gorefield says it has traded with Griffins for 17 years and watched it steadily develop.
“Their need for more suitable secure buildings is self-evident,” they told councillors.
Swann Edwards, agents for Griffin Roses, says the proposed site is un-used agricultural land and recently acquired to enable the business to have a base close to their home and crops.
The agents point out that the area around the A141 has commercial buildings including those on Gaul Road and Knights End Road and that both the Middle Level Commissioners and Fenland Crematorium “are prominent structures” along the A141.
The storage shed will be used to keep machinery near to their home which is needed daily; no one will be visiting the site apart from them.