Enforcement action taken against St Johns Plant Centre for allegedly trading illegally are on hold. This is after an announcement of plans to build 210 homes on the site.
Tendring Council and St Johns Plant Centre, in Clacton, are in a battle. This has been ongoing since the council accused the centre of operating outside of its planning permission.
The business insists it is not breaking any laws by trading as a retail garden centre and hosting a Christmas Wonderland attraction.
Tendring Council served an enforcement notice, ordering the centre to stop its retail sales. It demanded it stop hosting its festive event.
Last year, the council made a failed application for a High Court injunction to shut the event down due to traffic “chaos”.
The plant centre has lodged an appeal against the enforcement notice.
The landowners have now submitted a planning application for redevelopment of the garden centre site.
The scheme is for 210 homes and eight live-work units, but do not include plans for a garden centre.
Following the application, Tendring Council has suspended its enforcement action.
A council spokesman said officers would continue to watch the centre and its Winter Wonderland. This includes perceived traffic and access issues for evidence ahead of the appeal.
The councillor responsible for corporate enforcement hailed this as a “positive step forward”.
“The appeal against the enforcement notice will put the case before an independent Inspector. They will then rule once and for all on the matter,” he said.
“They will look at the redevelopment proposals on their own merits.
“These proposals do not include a garden centre on the site. I hope that St Johns Nursery has plans for a new home. As we know, it is a popular business.”