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Family business under threat as planning dispute continues

PUBLISHED: 19:00 29 July 2020

The Healing Centre in Rendlesham Picture: Abigayle Myers-Drake

The Healing Centre in Rendlesham Picture: Abigayle Myers-Drake

Archant

A couple say their family has been pushed to breaking point following arguments with villagers over their business.

Abigayle and Roy Drake are concerned about the future of their business Picture: ABIGAYLE MYERS-DRAKEAbigayle and Roy Drake are concerned about the future of their business Picture: ABIGAYLE MYERS-DRAKE

Roy Drake and his wife Abigayle Myers-Drake run a remedial and therapeutic centre in Tangham, close to Rendlesham Forest.

Mr Drake is a therapist by profession and his wife is a personal trainer.

Together they run their small business from the back of their home but are now struggling to keep going following disputes with local councils and villagers.

“Before we bought the house I spoke to the planning officers and told them what we were planning to do,” said Mr Drake.

One of the buildings on the Drake's property Picture: Abigayle Myers-DrakeOne of the buildings on the Drake's property Picture: Abigayle Myers-Drake

“The first information I was given was that there was nothing wrong with what we were proposing.”

Forest Haven, began in 2013 and the couple put up some small buildings to work in and for some glamping.

However, the couple say that local people became suspicious.

“People were looking through windows and tailgating clients in,” said Mr Drake.

Villagers have raised concerns about the couple's business Picture:Abigayle Myers-DrakeVillagers have raised concerns about the couple's business Picture:Abigayle Myers-Drake

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Eventually the couple were asked to apply for retrospective planning permission for the buildings.

This permission was refused by the-then Suffolk Coastal District Council, which stated that the site was unsustainable.

The council also raised concerns about the number of cars at the property; though the couple say only two cars arrive and leave the business in a day.

The couple have been in discussions with planners for a long time Picture: Abigayle Myers-DrakeThe couple have been in discussions with planners for a long time Picture: Abigayle Myers-Drake

In their objection to the planning application, Butley, Wantisden and Capel St Andrew Parish Council said that the business had caused “considerable anxiety” to those living in Tangham Forest.

East Suffolk Council has since served an enforcement notice against the business.

Last month, the planning inspectorate upheld the council’s decision and the couple are now hoping to take it to appeal.

So far, they have spent thousands of pounds fighting their case and have now set up a gofundme page.

The Drake's are concerned about the future of their business Picture: Abigayle Myers-DrakeThe Drake's are concerned about the future of their business Picture: Abigayle Myers-Drake

However, it is the emotional cost that the couple say has taken the real toll on them.

“My elderly mother has been pushed to breaking point by the local community because we offer a little therapy to support others,” said Mrs Myers- Drake.

East Suffolk Council said it would not be appropriate for them to comment at this time.


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