A GARDEN centre in Moreton has been granted permission to be allowed to sell a wider range of products amid concerns businesses in the centre of town will suffer.
At today’s meeting of Cotswold District Council’s planning committee, members discussed an application by Fosseway Garden Centre to sell a wider range of oak furniture and pet products and to be allowed to sell Christmas goods all year round.
Sixty-seven letters of objection to the application were received by the council expressing concerns that businesses in the centre of the town would lose trade as a result.
Town Councillor Alison Coggins said the council was strongly against the application by the garden centre, which sits on the southern edge of the town.
"I know there are a lot of small shops in Moreton which are very concerned about this application," she said.
Jerry Tweney, manager of the town’s Warner’s Budgens supermarket, said he was concerned permitting the application would set a dangerous precedent.
Garden centre manager Tim Godwin said he had no intention of taking business away from the town centre "We are a garden centre and we have no intention of being anything else," he said.
"We are a local business trying to succeed and secure local jobs."
Councillor Margaret Rickman (Lib Dem, Chesterton) said she did not believe the application posed a threat to town centre businesses.
"I think small businesses are always looking to blame someone for why they are failing," she said.
Councillor Joe Harris (Lib Dem, Park) agreed, saying: "I don’t think tourists go to Moreton to go to the garden centre – they go to look at the heritage.
"If local business can’t handle this they might as well just close now."
The application was granted by nine votes to one, with four abstentions, on the condition that Christmas goods are sold no earlier than October 1.