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14/08/2014

White Chimnies Farm wedding venue may be forced to close in planning row over luxury toilets

THE owners of a wedding business have warned they could be forced to close their venue down – because of a row over luxury toilets.

Council planners are considering taking enforcement action to remove the portable building converted into high-class loos.

They have also raised planning concerns over car parking at the venue.

It comes after Staffordshire Moorlands District Council refused a planning application to increase the number of weddings each year at White Chimnies Farm, near Endon from nine to 12.

The owners also operate four holiday cottages at the Lask Edge site.

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Joint owner Zeta Dean-Goodwin said: "We can have nine weddings-a-year without planning permission and wanted to extend it to 12 as the venue has proved popular.

"But now we have had to turn couples away because planning permission has been refused for an extension of just a few extra events a year.

"We have converted a portable building into luxury toilets for the weddings, but the council says it is in the green belt and we need to move it."

The 56-year-old added: "I have considered closing down the whole business because it is causing me too much hassle.

"I am so sick of fighting the council when other venues have been given planning permission.

"They have bombarded us with enforcement notices to move the portable building. It has become so stressful.

"The business employs local people and we also buy products from local companies.

"It is ridiculous the council is getting so upset over a portable cabin.

"The weddings also bring in people who stay in the cottages and enjoy our indoor swimming pool. We are not near anyone and a teepee is erected in the grounds for the weddings. We have been here for 22 years, have refurbished the whole place, and now want to share it with others."

Husband David Dean-Goodwin, aged 67, said: "I don't understand the attitude of the council. All we have done is improve the place.

"When we came here 22 years ago, it was a run-down farm and we have done a lot of work to make it into the place it is today.

"We are bringing lots of people into the area and the council has been negative."

Council officers are hoping to resolve the dispute through further consultation.

A council spokesman said: "Planning permission was refused, and dismissed at appeal, because of the impact of the portable building and the hard-standing on the green belt.

"The council is seeking to resolve these issues through consultation.

"However, if necessary, enforcement action will be taken."

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