A well-planned, thriving business

From Bob Mason.

WHAT a great time the paper pushers at Planning have had making menacing threats of a clamp down on farm shops.

Here we are in a period of recession, where Senator Ozouf has felt the need to inject tens of millions into the local economy, yet the Planning Department may even consider shutting a hugely successful business concern, Holme Grown.

Those who travel to Holme Grown will know that much of its area is a car park of the suitably bumpy muddy variety no doubt approved of by the die-hard conservative planners. Another vast area (Holme Living) is entirely devoted to plants and the accessories that go with gardening.

The reference in the JEP to area covered is largely irrelevant. Stanley Payn had a large site and has thus incorporated it into his business.

Mr Payn used to grow what I believe were the best tomatoes in Jersey. When demand evaporated he did not simply let his glasshouses and farm site fall into disrepair and wait for the consequent eyesore to be rezoned for housing. No! Instead he intelligently developed a thriving business based very much around home produce. Central, I'm sure, to his business model was the aim to provide for the needs of the local community here in the east of the Island.

I know from personal experience that Mr Payn will accept any good quality local produce and put it on sale in his shop. He has no house agreement to stock Iceland or Waitrose products as does Checkers. He is that increasingly rare phenomenon, a Jersey independent businessman.

At a time when we have been obliged to think carefully about the Islands reliance on the finance industry we have in Holme Growne proof that some alternatives do exist if we have people of Mr Payn's business acumen to develop them. I am old enough to remember the brave and expensive development of Ransom's Garden Centre. It proved to be the model for many other garden centres across the Island, which continue to thrive and multiply.

For goodness sake, don't let bureaucracy stifle enterprise. And my message to John Gallichan is simple: You really should get out more.

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