British Ironwork Centre boss in closure warning
Bosses at a tourist attraction today warned it could be forced to close if a planning dispute is not settled.
British Ironwork Centre submitted a retrospective planning application two years ago after it was revealed the site was built without permission.
It asked for permission for the current site, and then added extra attractions, including a visitor train route, a nature reserve, a farm shop, and camping and glamping.
But Shropshire Council planners told bosses at the Oswestry centre to withdraw the application, and to re-submit an application for what was already at the site.
Chairman of the centre, Clive Knowles, today revealed the application will be submitted at the end of March, and said if it is rejected, it could finish the centre.
He said: “We have had 12 weeks to re-submit the application and it will go in at the end of March.
"We have had to take off a lot of the ambitious plans, and just apply for permission for what we are, not for the future.
"We are a five-star free attraction, and it is hard not being able to improve facilities.
“We are applying for what we have – and then if it is rejected, it may finish us.”
In December, Mr Knowles revealed the cost of the long-running planning saga had run into six figures.
He said: "In December we were heavily rocked, the stress created has and is still now overwhelming.
"It is to the extent that we are genuinely frightened for our future.
"We are desperate to finish the planning process and feel that living and operating under the threat of closure for so long is beginning to tell."
The issue is likely to be discussed by council planners in the spring.