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Wyevale accused of bid to shut Telford farm shop

A huge garden centre chain has been accused of trying to put a small independent farm shop in Telford out of business.

Loyal customers of Green Fields farm shop in Donnington flooded social networking sites on August 16th to complain about the way Wyevale Garden Centre has restricted the farm shop’s access to the site. But today, Wyevale hit back, saying Green Fields had broken the conditions of its lease.

A spokesman said: “We have previously been good neighbours and we hope that situation will return if Green Fields is able to comply with the commitments it made.

“The agreement has been ignored and abused. We are happy to help a small business but not to be abused.”

Both firms lease the land from a farmer. Green Fields has had a shop in the area for 22 years and Wyevale moved in about 15 years ago.

Green Fields general manager Natalie Walker said when Wyevale arrived the leases guaranteed the farm shop’s access, but in the past two weeks new fences and locks had been put up and communication reduced to a series of solicitors’ letters.

She said: “If our alarms went off at night or there was a fire the emergency services would not be able to get in. We worked so well together with the previous management, everything was harmonious. They are trying to get rid of us.”

She said Wyevale’s owners, the Garden Centre Group, had also sent letters demanding the end of food festivals and monthly visits by a knife sharpener. Signs were also taken down.

Green Fields’ owners had responded with a solicitor’s letter threatening court action to reinstate the access.

The Wyevale spokesman said it had no alternative after ‘breaches’ of the access terms. “The agreement makes it clear that the access rights can be withdrawn in the event that Green Fields fails to comply with the terms it signed up to.”

Source : Shropshire Star

21 August 2012
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