Strawberry Fields
Picture: Strawberry Fields

A councillor has backed a campaign calling for a rethink to a planning decision which could see a Burntwood business forced to close.

More than 1,500 people have now signed a petition to save Strawberry Fields.

It comes after the business was refused planning permission to retain an outdoor area for dining use with associated bell tents and kitchen.

A report by planning officers said it would constitute “inappropriate development within the Green Belt”, while concerns were also raised about car parking and noise.

But an appeal has now been launched in a bid to force a rethink – and has received backing from Cllr Wai-Lee Ho.

The Conservative representative for Highfield ward at Lichfield District Council said he would “personally support the appeal” and hoped a solution could be found to prevent the business having to close.

“I believe there is scope for reasonable planning conditions that will be acceptable to all interested parties and stakeholders.

“A small independent business that is a family’s livelihood is at risk and all avenues should be exhausted before refusal.

“I would add that this business is a pillar of the community that often contributes to the community with charitable activities. For example, every Christmas they collect presents to give to vulnerable children.

“This is the type of business and family that our community will be losing if this appeal is not successful.”

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho

In a statement, Strawberry Fields’ owners said that the prospect of closing after four years would have an impact beyond just the business itself.

“Please help us to stay open and keep providing our community hub and help us to save everyone’s jobs, to maintain local supplier orders and to continue to bring business into Burntwood.”

Strawberry Fields spokesperson

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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Sea Chandler
18 days ago

The council should absolutely be disgraced with themselves. A business that brings people to Burntwood.

Shame on them and the stress they would have caused that buisness owner is disgusting.

Well done Wai.

Raymond Noakes
18 days ago

You really couldn’t make this up could you! ‘Inappropriate development in the green belt’! Fill a field up with boxes à la Birmingham Road etc. and that’s perfectly acceptable!

John
17 days ago

It’s a great business model and extremely useful to the local community. It’s about time local people took over the council.

Scott Armstrong
17 days ago

There is simple common sense, then there is council planning regulations.

It will baffle anyone with an ounce of common sense why LDC does not want to support a local, home-grown very successful business to grow. Yet it will happily invest £1.7m in an unnamed business with no local connection and provide it with other incentives in order to secure a deal for a cinema in Lichfield.

What message does this send to other local businesses? LDC needs to look again at this application and support a local success story.

Jimmy
17 days ago

Good on the council.God forbid someone puts some tables on our sacred Greenbelt. Green belt land isn’t for using, it’s for looking at. We need to protect.it so that we can also not use it in the future.

Philip
17 days ago

There was good reason for green belt land. It encouraged reuse of land already built on and made for a better environment.
Generations change and so do ideas. Should they choose to alter the provisions of the past then that has to be their perogative. Immediate things now seem to be more important than long term considerations.