THE fate of the popular Bisley Yurt will be decided next month.

Adrian Keeling, who, with his family, own the yurt and the land on which it stands at Miles Green Farm, has submitted a planning application for the venue after an intervention by Surrey Heath Borough Council.

“The council issued a Planning Contravention Notice in November last year,” Adrian said. “That spurred us to put in the application."

A spokesperson for Surrey Heath Borough Council said: “Prior to submission of the application (application number 19/2293/FFU), the applicant was visited by the council’s planning enforcement officer following a complaint, and was advised to remove the yurt which required, and did not have, planning permission, and is located within the green belt.”

Now, though, the case has gone far beyond a dispute about a tent in a field. The yurt’s future is a hot topic. By the start of this week, the application had attracted 224 public comments, every one in support.

Adrian said: “The yurt went up in May 2017 in response to requests by several local holistic practitioners who wanted a quiet, rural place to run their classes.

“It’s made entirely of canvas over a wooden frame. There are no metal components at all, not even screws or nails. It is totally hand-made, in the UK, a structure that is perfectly suited to its green-belt setting.

“Although it has a wooden floor, it’s basically just a wooden disc resting on the ground, on six paving slabs, with the tented structure erected over it and held down with pegs. It’s a completely temporary structure.

“If the yurt were to be removed 19 regular local instructors, plus many who run workshops, would lose their venue. Bisley Montessori – a fully Ofsted registered nursery for 24 pre-school children which is in another building on the site but uses the yurt as critical extra classroom space – would also struggle as they would lose their PE, drama, dance and wet play classroom.

“And Bisley Parish Council gave its unanimous support at its planning meeting on the grounds of local amenity.

“This isn’t just about me, the real losers would be the several hundred local people who use the facility on a regular basis.”

For the full story get the 20 February edition of the News & Mail