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Council rejects marquee bid for Eastbrookend Country Park

PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 April 2019

The Farmhouse Tavern in Dagenham. Picture: STEVE POSTON

The Farmhouse Tavern in Dagenham. Picture: STEVE POSTON

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A wedding venue has been told it cannot put up a marquee because of its impact on the green belt.

Chartered town planner, Ambrain Qureshi, argued the marquee should be allowed. Picture: LBBDChartered town planner, Ambrain Qureshi, argued the marquee should be allowed. Picture: LBBD

The owner of the Farmhouse Venue in Eastbrookend Country Park wanted to erect the tent for up to 16 weeks per year but Barking and Dagenham Council refused at a town hall meeting on Wednesday.

Planning officer, Simon Bullock, said: “[The marquee] would reduce the [park's] openess. It would affect tranquility when events are taking place.

“Most people go to the country park for peace and quiet.”

Owner, Gulzar Chowdhury, had wanted to increase the number of guests the former Farmhouse Tavern site could accommodate from 180 to 400 creating an overspill car park which would see seven trees chopped down.

The Farmhouse Tavern in Dagenham. Picture: STEVE POSTONThe Farmhouse Tavern in Dagenham. Picture: STEVE POSTON

He argued the special circumstances why it should be allowed were that profits from increased trade would be ploughed into the listed building and the venue would not be viable as a business without the marquee.

The borough also lacks larger venues for community events and the development was in harmony with the country park, the application states.

But Mr Bullock denied there were special circumstances that would allow it.

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An application by Farmhouse Venue to put up a permanent marquee made in 2017 was also refused, Mr Bullock added.

Chartered town planner, Ambrain Qureshi, speaking for the application on behalf of Mr Chowdhury, argued Hounslow Council had allowed a marquee on the green belt.

“Proper planning should ensure consistency,” Ms Qureshi said.

She added the structure would not be visible from the park, would not be up for most of the year and the Farmhouse Venue created jobs in a deprived borough.

And she said that if tranquility would be affected by a marquee, then events already held at the park would do the same.

The planning committee was told traffic in Dagenham Road wouldn't increase because not all Farmhouse Venue events would attract 400 guests.

Cllr Dominic Twomey argued that the council loved to support businesses but had a duty to give the strongest protection to the green belt.

And Cllr Cameron Geddes dismissed the call to follow Hounslow's example saying that local authority should pursue Barking and Dagenham's approach.

Chairman of the planning committee, Cllr Peter Chand, announced the refusal following the vote.

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