'Pop-up' Christmas tree centre angers residents of a Banburyshire village but new owners say they just want to be a Christmas tree farm

Some residents of Adderbury have sounded alarm bells over a Christmas tree sales centre that has popped up on a controversial site.

Monday, 14th December 2020, 6:05 pm
Updated Monday, 14th December 2020, 6:09 pm
The new owners of Perry Tree Farm say they just want to grow Christmas trees

The Christmas trees are being sold at Perry Tree Farm on Milton Road where a planning application for a 73 static-caravan park on its land was withdrawn amid uproar earlier this year.

Villagers fear changes made ahead of the Christmas tree sales are a forerunner to other caravans being brought on to the site.

However the new owners of the farm say they have only the best intentions of being a part of the community and will be taking their security caravan away after the Christmas sales period.

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"We're here to be a part of the community, we have donated trees to St Mary's Church, Katharine House Hospice and the Banbury Tree Festival. As a family we have nothing but good intentions to incorporate our business into the local area," said a spokesman.

"We purchased the land in September with the sole intention of having a Christmas tree farm. We didn't have any knowledge of the planning application until we opened up and had people coming in raising concerns about this.

"The caravan we have here at the moment is purely for security to stay in overnight as a deterrent to prevent anything getting stolen as we haven't owned the land long enough to properly invest in securing the land. As soon as Christmas Eve is here and we've finish selling for the season, we will be back home, taking the caravan with us."

Susan Bradley of the West Adderbury Residents' Association (WARA) said: "A number of residents have contacted WARA with regard to Perry Tree Farm.

"A planning application to convert this site into a static caravan park was submitted earlier this year and then withdrawn following huge objection. The business presently operating from the site has had a large septic tank and a static caravan delivered and a hard-standing installed. Some residents are worried that these will remain on the site after Christmas and are in fact a precursor to other caravans arriving and that is a subversion of the planning process.

"CDC have an open enforcement case but I understand that the owners are allowed to operate a business from the site for 56 days in any one year without needing planning permission to do so, so to date this all seems perfectly legitimate.

"CDC will review the site again mid-January when the 56 days is up. Of course, if 70 caravans have arrived in the meantime there will be very little the enforcement team can do, hence the anxiety in the local community."

A Cherwell District Council spokesman said: “The council is aware of this case and officers carried out a site visit in November. Planning legislation has been temporarily amended by Government to allow temporary use without planning permission for a period of 56 days. The land will be revisited in January to ensure that the temporary use has ceased after 56 days and any structures removed.”