Call for compromise after Oswestry B&B told to stop running restaurant
The owner of an Oswestry bed and breakfast who has been told she can no longer run it as a restaurant has called for a compromise to allow the business to continue.
Sophie Dillon, who has been refused retrospective planning permission to run a restaurant at Hayes Barn on the edge of Oswestry, said she felt a sense of injustice over the decision.
Ms Dillon said she is open to a compromise to keep the restaurant open.
She said: "Moving forward, I sincerely hope these things can be discussed sensibly. There is no reason in my mind why a compromise can't be reached between Hayes Barn and everyone concerned, to ensure the continuation of the business and the happiness, safety and peace of the surrounding residents."
The Hayes Barn owner said that the public had supported her bid and that it is a "great shame" the application has been refused.
She said: "I love the town and its people. My return to Oswestry was largely to be closer to my family again, but Oswestry has a strong community feel, and is such a pretty town with a great deal of potential. As a local gal, to be in a position to provide an establishment like Hayes Barn for the town, local residents, families, and visitors alike, is something I am very proud of. Oswestry deserves places like Hayes Barn, and more of them.
"I hoped that by starting the business, I could encourage other individuals to take on the challenge of being an independent business operator.
"The positive response to Hayes Barn has been overwhelming, and rather humbling. The joy my team and I get from reading the five star reviews we receive every week is tremendous. The Friends of Hayes Barn Facebook page is some 560 people strong just within a few weeks and there were 60 plus supporting documents submitted on the Shropshire Council website in relation to the application.
"So above all it seems a great shame that this has happened. However, I’m confident an agreement would be reached and I remain more than open to discussions with all parties concerned."
Ms Dillon said that the premises had not initially been planned as a restaurant.
She said: "People often ask me how Hayes Barn came about. I was born and raised in Oswestry and upon upon my return from Australia in 2016, I wanted to start something new and exciting in the hospitality area, so I decided to apply for permission to open as a luxury B&B. With its idyllic setting and proximity to the town centre, it seemed perfect.
"After gaining a premises licence in February 2017, it very quickly became clear that people wanted to visit Hayes Barn and experience the unique ambience we have created, more so as a place to sit and relax with a drink than a B&B.
"An opportune meeting with our chef, and his subsequent move to Hayes Barn, meant that the business was taking on a direction of its own - hence the submission of the recent planning application."