It was revealed at a public planning meeting this week that the Charnley’s family, which owns Charnley’s Home & Garden in Dalton-in-Furness in Cumbria, has finally been granted planning permission for its extension, following more than two years of living under the threat of demolition.
Charnley’s Home & Garden was started by Lou and Marc Charnley over 22 years ago and has had a strong local following ever since, employing 34 members of staff and playing a key role in the community by supporting numerous charities.
In 2016, the business underwent a £1m reinvestment programme to extend the existing garden centre, bring it up to date and make it an attractive destination to help draw visits to the area. The extension was completed in October 2016, but in the November, Barrow Borough Council threatened enforcement action to demolish the new extension and close parts of the store not being used for garden retail, because Marc hadn’t gained the correct permissions.
It has taken more than two years, but finally today, planning permission was granted for the extension.
Marc said: “I’m really emotional to be honest. I can’t tell you what a struggle the last two years have been, for us as a family and as a business. We did everything we could to get the necessary permissions as soon as we realised they were needed; we were mortified that we hadn’t done what we were supposed to. We’ve worked with the council throughout and have done everything that has been asked of us, but we were met with obstructions and delays at every turn. We are so relieved that today we can finally put all this behind us and look to the future. We are grateful that we have got through it, at times we didn’t know if we would and we’ve been worried sick about the impact on our staff, but now we can move forward. We are proud to have a home and garden centre that gives local people what they want so they don’t have to go out of town.”
Julie Charnley, Marc’s wife said: “We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the last two years, all our loyal customers, the people who got in touch to wish us well and most of all our team here at Charnley’s.”
Marc continued: “We’ve had to put so many things on hold over the last two years because it’s been such a huge strain financially, but now we are excited to get things like our apprenticeship programme back on track. Retail is on its knees at the moment and with Brexit things have never been more uncertain. We changed the business in 2016 not through choice but through survival - we wanted to create something that would draw people to the area and we are proud and relieved now that we can finally get to do that with the local council’s support.”
Charnley’s Home & Garden is an independent, family-run home and garden centre offering two furniture and interiors showrooms, a Garden Store and The Bakehouse café.