Spencer’s Retreat Farm in Solihull may be forced to close due to a ‘strange planning principle’ as it earns only £ 100 a day.

A well-liked family farm in Solihull that helps children with special educational needs says it is in danger of being closed due to a “strange” planning principle. Husband and wife team Simon and Kate Morris have been running Spencer’s Retreat 2019 in Berkswell.

Spencers Retreat is part of the Langdale Trust, formed in 1966 to help vulnerable adults and families in the West Midlands and Warwickshire. Simon and Kate’s farm is very important to the community for autism and extra needs.

It’s one of the few places in the region that can meet such high needs, but Simon told Birmingham Live that a “strange” plan to limit the number of cars parked on the farm The future of is in grave danger.

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Only 22 people and four cars are allowed on site at any one time. Simon said the ban has crippled the charity, leaving him with only £ 100 a day.

Simon told Birmingham Live: “There are a lot of care farms and children’s farms, but we prepare each package for each family. The biggest problem is that the land was originally Green Belt agricultural land. “So we had to apply for a change. For our visitors.”

He added: “The planning decision came back before the first lockdown, before the sanctions [the council] Up to two families at a time and each had to be booked. It had nothing to do with Quaid, it was standard, everyone had to make a reservation to get here, which at the time, we knew would not be sustainable, with only two families paying £ 20 per visit at a time. Are

Image story not published.

“Ideally we need to get our marquee with planning permission, sort it, it works as two things, it helps us when animals are bad, we have an inner space which We can take them, which is hot and dry.

“But the same thing happens with children in winter and summer. The other thing is to lift the ban now that we have four families at a time, four to five cars at a time, and they give us schools, care. Prevents hosting homes that want to come along.

“To make it sustainable, we need to be able to run events, raise funds, and we have proved this year with our Ukraine, that if we say six or seven of these events, we Can raise about £ 10,000 in just one year. Events, which would be incredible. “

Simon and Kate have not yet submitted their planning request to the Solhill Council, but say they are already concerned about the farm’s survival. Simon explained how the principle of pre-booking does not only apply to families with children with additional needs.

Spencer’s Retreat Farm in Bricksville. Special Educational Needs Form run by Simon Morris and Partner.

“Trying to convince the parents of the children we care for, the family can’t book in advance, the children with autism, they can’t plan beyond that because it’s too much for the children. It’s annoying. Parents often want to say that the child is not anxious today. Can we come down? But if they can’t book in advance, they can’t come. “

He said that because of the number limit, he has to reduce the number of visits to care homes and schools, and he cannot accept any volunteer, as it reduces the number of families on the farm at a time. Can come

“It’s weird, it doesn’t make sense,” Simon added. “When I look at the charity and think that if it continues we won’t be here this time next year. We had a ڈ 12,000 quad grant last year, if we didn’t have it we would be gone. “

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Spencer’s Retreat Farm in Bricksville. Special Educational Needs Form run by Simon Morris and Partner.
(Photo: Birmingham Live)

A spokesman for the Solihole Council Planning Team said: “The site is limited to no more than four families visiting the site at any time other than Group Day (for themed Family Day, educational trips, care home trips or for children). (Parties), where there can be 12 group days in a calendar year.

“This is in line with Solihull Local Plan 2013 policies P8 and P14 to reduce traffic and congestion around the site and in the interest of both highway safety and convenience for neighbors in the area around the site. Restrictions were imposed by the site.Owners requested in a 2020 application (ref. PL ​​/ 2020/02156 / VAR) to relax the previous restrictions (actually allowing a maximum of 2 families at a time). The request was approved by the council.

“To the best of our knowledge, the owner has not contacted the council for further relaxation of the ban.”

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