Barn-row firm saved from bulldozers

FEEDING OFF COMMON SENSE -- relieved Graham Cresswell and colleague David Gill outside the barn at Karygray Feeds
FEEDING OFF COMMON SENSE -- relieved Graham Cresswell and colleague David Gill outside the barn at Karygray Feeds

A FLOURISHING business that faced ruin after being told its premises would have to be bulldozed has won an 11th-hour reprieve.

Karygray Feeds, which has been running for 25 years, is based off Salmon Lane in Annesley Woodhouse.

It specialises in food for animals ranging from chickens to rabbits, horses and even exotic alpacas.

But it incurred the wrath of planners at Ashfield District Council when owner Graham Cresswell built a storage barn for his stock, without planning permission.

He thought it would be classed as an agricultural building and was exempt from planning law.

In fact, he had broken the rules and was served with a notice stating he could ultimately be forced to tear the premises down. It was classed as illegal development in the Green Belt.

Mr Cresswell (62), who has suffered two heart attacks, was faced with the stress of having to apply for retrospective permission for the building. Even worse, officers at the council recommended this should be refused.

However councillors, at a meeting of the planning committee, went against the recommendation and voted narrowly in favour of Mr Cresswell keeping the storage barn.

“I am so unbelievably relieved,” Mr Cresswell told the Dispatch. “A mistake was made by me and fortunately, it has all been sorted, with common sense prevailing.”

Forty letters were submitted to the council in support of Karygray. There had been no complaints about the relatively small building, which is obscured from view by trees.

Councillors said the business was vital to the area and provided crucial employment that bolstered the local economy.

Coun Gail Turner (Ind), who spoke on behalf of Karygray at the meeting, said: “Ashfield is a deprived area. The council’s strapline is adapt, grow and prosper. This is what this business has done.

“This is the sort of initiative we should be encouraging. It is simply wrong to put an end to the employment that exists.

“This is a small business, the likes of which will help lift Ashfield out of the recession.”

In 1995, Karygray was presented with a certificate of lawfulness by Ashfield Council to ratify the business. It now employs four workers.

The 2,000 square foot barn went up in August 2009. It wasn’t until last summer that the council launched an investigation.

Mr Cresswell said: “We have had tremendous support from our customers. We have never advertised and our trade has always been by word of mouth. We have built a strong reputation.

“This is not a carbuncle on the landscape. I am just delighted. This is a weight off our shoulders.”