Open Letter to Nadim Zahawi MP

Open Letter to Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP.

Open letter to Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP on the importance of supporting British farmers such as our client Valefresco to produce fresh wholefoods – this letter follows a meeting with Nadhim last Friday.

Good afternoon Nadhim Zahawi

I write on behalf of Valefresco following our meeting at your constituency office last Friday (20th October 2023).  Our meeting sought to continue discussions on the Government’s progress for policy support to facilitate changes to the current farming and planning systems to secure the sustainable cultivation of fresh wholefoods (salad and orientate vegetables) through protected cropping here in the UK.    Policy support for the cultivation of fresh wholefoods in protected climates (typically green houses and polytunnels) has been highlighted by the Government in the National Food Strategy (2022) and Farm to Fork Strategy (2023).  We were told policy support for protected cropping would be specifically addressed through the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill which has reached final stages and appears to make no mention of this specific support or mechanism to achieve such an outcome.   Please could we have a written response on this matter; namely, how and when will policy support be provided?

I am sure the Government appreciates that farming businesses like and including Valefresco make a significant economic contribution not only in terms of goods and employment but through sustainable farming and the cultivation of fresh wholefoods which directly impact health and education.  As recognised in the aforementioned policy documents, the current destructive approach to farming and influence of ‘Big Food’ has promoted the prevalence of Ultra Processed Foods (UPF) which is the leading cause of illness (obesity, diabetes, and chromic disease from inflammation) here in the UK over and above smoking which previously held this unprestigious mantel.  Therefore policy support for protected cropping of fresh wholefoods here in the UK is not solely limited to sustainable farming practices,  the objective of “building a strong, responsive and competitive economy” (para 8, NPPF), achieving environmental commitments and national food security, it will contribute towards improved health and education outcomes which is of particular importance given the pressure the NHS is presently under and the value people of this country put on this world revered service.

It is therefore essential that meaningful policy support is provided by the Government before key businesses, such as Valefresco, can no longer survive.  A lack of support will only act to move further away from delivering Government objectives as outlined in the policy documents referred to above.  Valefresco, and other businesses alike are able to support and deliver the Government’s aims – meaningless intent or delayed action will only fail to accomplish.  Please prioritise this matter moving forward.

Best regards

Wendy Hopkins | MRTPI

Company Director | Brodie Planning Associates Ltd

Office: 01242 898368 | Mob: 07900243414 | Web:

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Appeal Allowed – Betts Mead – 3302273

Success at Appeal! 

Appeal Allowed! Success at appeal resolving a historic parking matter and enforcement case.

We were able to demonstrate that the site at Betts Mead had been in use as an informal car park for a period in excess of 10 years, resulting in the use being considered lawful and exempt from any enforcement action being taken.

The inspector allowed the appeal against the refusal to grant a certificate of lawfulness by Croydon Council, placing ‘significant weight’ upon the provision of three separate statutory declarations. In a comprehensive evaluation of the case, the inspector not only recognized the compelling nature of the statutory declarations but also underscored their pivotal role in confirming the genuine and longstanding nature of the sites usage.

The Inspector concluded that “The Council’s refusal to grant a certificate of lawful use or development in respect of use as car park for occupants and visitors of the property was not well-founded and that the appeal should succeed” and the appeal allowed.

This decision not only sets a persuasive precedent for future appeals but also highlights the crucial importance of robust and well-documented statutory declarations in navigating the legal intricacies of the planning system successfully.

If you would like our help to appeal a planning decision, or for any other planning related advice, please contact us using the form below. Alternatively, email or telephone 01242 898 368.

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