A LONG-running battle between a council and farm shop has been resolved by the higher courts.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) has been refused permission to appeal a decision made by Reading Crown Court last summer, relating to Hare Hatch Sheeplands.

Owner Rob Scott and 10 others were charged by the council with being in breach of an enforcement notice.

Last year, Judge Angela Morris took the view that WBC was wrong to pursue legal action and her view was supported at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Lady Justice Hallett said the council’s decision to prosecute Mr Scott 'was flawed' and she removed the reporting restriction applied for by the council.

Concluding her findings, judge Morris said: “The fact [WBC] have chosen to do so under these circumstances, coupled with the clear, and in my view, inappropriate consideration of seeking to reclaim costs through the application of proceeds of crime, is unjust and unfair and so offends the court’s sense of justice that it must stay the proceedings in respect of these defendants to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system.”

She also said the council had 'sought to gain advantage' of the situation by prosecuting Mr Scott for the alleged transgression of the enforcement notice, without him having recourse to the appeal process.

Following this judgement WBC applied for permission from the Court of Appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice to challenge the decision.

Mr Scott said he was thankful to both Lady Justice Hallett and judge Morris for taking the time to prepare 'comprehensive and exonerating judgements'.

He now wants to work with councillors to ensure a sustainable future for the nursery for the benefit of the wider community.

He added that he would take every opportunity to open a dialogue with WBC.

A two-day hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice ended with Lady Justice Hallett saying the original judgement at Reading was 'without fault and totally acceptable'.

She refused to give the council permission to appeal and confirmed that all defendants had been acquitted, meaning that criminal charges against Mr Scott and the other individuals had been dropped.

WBC was approached for comment.