Budding businessman told to tear down shop

The flower-selling business constructed by Marcel Stubbe in the front garden of his home in Kent Road, Atherton
The flower-selling business constructed by Marcel Stubbe in the front garden of his home in Kent Road, Atherton

A ROW has broken out between council chiefs and an enterprising dad who transformed his front garden into a flower-selling business.

Father-of-four Marcel Stubbe, 49, was so desperate to get off benefits and provide for his family he built an elaborate array of trestle tables and wooden frames to hang shade nets from outside his Atherton home in order to sell plants.

Marcel Stubbe

Marcel Stubbe

However, the huge structures have failed to impress the local authority, which has now told him to tear it down as it requires planning permission.

Officers informed him the alterations to the address on Kent Road would need Marcel to submit an application for change of use but said the town hall would be willing to work with him to find more suitable premises for his new Backyard Blooms business.

A Wigan Council spokesman said: “Before someone makes major changes to the exterior of their home we would urge them to seek advice from the council’s planning department.

“This can avoid unnecessary complications and wasted time and effort.

We spoke to the neighbours in sight of our little operation and asked them if there were any objections. The children in the neighbourhood also love to come here.

Marcel Stubbe

“This structure is a significant alteration to the front of this house and after inspection does require planning permission.

“It also impacts on the appearance of the row of houses and it is understandable that some nearby residents have raised concerns about it.

“We would, however, want to offer support to a start-up business so they can gain suitable premises for their business.”

Confusion also surrounds Marcel’s DIY efforts as he lives in a privately-rented house, with Wigan Council saying his landlord has angrily told him to take the plant-selling equipment down but Marcel strongly denies this is the case.

Marcel and his partner Nelke decided to create their Backyard Blooms plant nursery and as they had very little money tried to use their garden as a makeshift shop and preparation area.

An unhappy Marcel today hit out at the local authority, saying his flower firm was popular in the area and he believed he should have the chance to get his floral operation off the ground.

He says he was told the structure and the business activity was unlikely to be given retrospective planning permission due to the visual impact of the wooden structures on the estate.

He also claims he approached the Wigan Business Support Team for advice about licences and permits but received no reply.

Marcel said: “Here is one family trying to improve their situation and build a business from their community.

“I believe in cases like ours, where a lot of money and even more effort has been put into an idea, the planning office should be made to look a bit further than the current planning and measurements.

“We spoke to the neighbours in sight of our little operation and asked them if there were any objections. The children in the neighbourhood also love to come here.

“We tell them about the flowers and allow them to help. For the council planners to just say no before an application has even gone in seems harsh to me.”