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Popular eatery forced to close

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A popular farmshop and woodfired kitchen has been forced to close.

The Ionian on the A38 Bristol Road near Dursley ceased trading at the end of February after they failed to comply with an enforcement notice.

A Stroud District Council spokesperson said: “The Ionian pizzeria was built without planning permission and we had no choice but to pursue action as we would with any contravention of planning law. 

“An enforcement referral was made to Stroud District Council in March 2019.

 

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“Following investigation by the council’s planning enforcement team, an enforcement notice was served on the operators of The Ionian in 2019. This was because it had not been demonstrated that a countryside location was essential nor that the pizzeria was a farm diversification scheme, and there was adverse impact of the buildings on the character of the countryside.

“Development in the District is managed by the 2015 Local Plan. The policies in the Local Plan direct development to towns and villages unless a countryside location is essential.  

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The Ionian site is now being demolished

“A planning application for a permanent farm shop and pizzeria was made to the council in September 2020.  This was refused for similar reasons in November of that year.

“Both the enforcement notice and planning application were appealed.  After significant delays caused by COVID-19, a public hearing in front of a Government-appointed Planning Inspector took place in September 2022.  

“The Planning Inspector agreed with the council, refusing planning permission and upholding the enforcement notice, with a minor alteration to allow a period of six months to comply.

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“The operators of The Ionian should have complied with the notice by August 2023. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence. 

“Despite officers’ attempts to secure compliance with the notice, The Ionian continued operating. Having been unable to resolve the matter, prosecution proceedings against the operators for their continued unlawful breach of planning control were commenced in January 2024.

“The operators of The Ionian have now agreed to comply with the notice on the understanding the council will halt the legal case against them. The planning system operates to manage development in the wider public interest and the council will take the necessary steps to ensure its long-term planning strategy is not compromised by unlawful development.”  

In a heartfelt Facebook post, The Ionian owners said: “First and foremost we would like to thank our amazing customers. We served to the best of our ability with unrelenting passion and effort this unique community of whom we have grown so close with.

“It has been a great ride and we have loved every minute of providing our homemade food that we make with genuine love and kindness to all our lovely customers.

“However, due to adverse results from planning permission applications and appeals, spanning pre-covid right up to this moment, we sadly do not have the capacity to continue serving.

“We hope to be back one day via a different route, but for now we have to say goodbye, but we hope to see you all again.”

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