A PETITION has been launched to turn historic barns into a venue for events and celebrations.

Stock Street Farm Barn, in Coggeshall, already hosts events but is looking to get official approval from Braintree Council to host weddings, parties, music and films.

Since 2016, owners have been trying to obtain formal permission for the use of the barn but claim Braintree Council “has not engaged” with them.

Owner Michael Staines said: “We are here because Braintree Council would not engage with us to deliver their stated policy goals.

“They prematurely rejected our previous applications and we then had to appeal running head to head with a landowner behind us.

“We think there has been a misunderstanding and Braintree Council think we want to run festivals on the 1.2-acre site – we do not.”

In July 2016 the barns obtained approval for alcohol sales, dancing, films and music as the closest neighbours are more than 200 metres away.

The site currently attracts 4,500 people to Coggeshall every year with both public and private events at the 350-year-old barn. The petition has already received more than 1,200 signatures.

Comments such as “great venue”, “stunning barn”, “it’s important to support our local businesses” and “a great family-run place” have also been left on the petition.

A Braintree Council spokesman said: “A planning application was refused by Braintree Council in 2018 because of the impact on the setting of the listed building and on highway safety grounds.

“The applicant appealed the decision and the independent planning inspector appointed by the Government agreed with our conclusions.

“Unfortunately, the business has continued to operate on the site without the necessary planning permissions in place and we are currently considering our next steps.”

Mr Staines, who has owned the site since 2011, said: “The petition has now exceeded 1,000 and we hope Braintree Council convene a special planning committee hearing to enable us to get approval quickly so we can get on and help others enjoy celebrating in Coggeshall.”

To sign the petition go to you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-beautiful-5-star-rated-barn-business-approve-d2-use-now.