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Council pen pushers are closing us down
FORTY businesses have four weeks before they are booted out of their premises.
Sharon Wells, landlady of the Black Barn gift and craft centre in Turkey Cock Lane, Stanway, said she was “devastated” to find herself and her fellow traders in the situation.
It came about because Colchester Council said the barn’s owners don’t have planning permission and an attempt to fight the ruling has failed.
Mrs Wells has her own gift shop, Enchanted Kingdom, at the barn, and 39 other small businesses rent out spaces there from her there.
The decision means at least 40 jobs face the axe too.
She said: “It’s not just a business - it’s a community and some ‘pen pusher’ can wipe out all our businesses without a thought to the devastation we feel.
“I have been in business for six years and I am going to lose what I have worked for and hold dear to my heart.
“My husband and I have been repairing and restoring the barn as we go along and there is still a long way to go.
“There is a garden centre next door, a retail furniture outlet and industrial units across the road, so why is it that I have to leave when all these other things are allowed to stay?”
A Colchester Council spokesman said site had permission for furniture retail use but was being used unlawfully by crafts being sold from there.
“The refusal for the retention of the unlawful craft use was appealed against, but the appeal has just been dismissed by a Government inspector," he added.
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