Hundreds of South Londoners have backed a much-loved DIY shop after a council ordered it to remove a shipping container storing pieces of wood from its land.  

Over 750 people have signed a petition in support of KJ Building Supplies in Brockley, which is locked in a battle with Lewisham Council over the storage of building materials down the side of its shop.

The council is taking the business’s former owner to court over his refusal to remove a shipping container, pieces of timber and other building materials from a yard outside the store. 

Lewisham issued the shop’s former owner with an enforcement notice ordering him to stop using the land to store materials in 2018.

The notice stated the business didn’t have planning permission for a builder’s yard. 

News Shopper: The yard used for storage to the left of the shopThe yard used for storage to the left of the shop

But the two-man duo behind KJ Building Supplies, Kevin Bottomley and Will Buckle, say the storage area is essential for the business.

They have continued using the land to store materials and say the shop will have to close for good if the council succeeds in stopping it using the yard.

An online petition in support of the building supplies shop says the business is a victim of the area’s “recent gentrification that has brought about an unjust targeting of so-called ‘unsightly’ businesses”.

House prices in Brockley have rocketed by 66 per cent since 2013, according to Land Registry figures cited by estate agent Kinleigh Folkard and Hayward. 

News Shopper: Will Buckle with the shop's famous pipe manWill Buckle with the shop's famous pipe man

As of September 27, the petition had racked up 754 signatures in support of the business. 

One supporter, James Westcott, wrote: “When we moved to Brockley in 2015, Will came over to install some lights for us after helping us get the kit we needed.

"You wouldn’t get that from a Wickes! Lewisham Council is insanely short-sighted, prioritising so-called unsightliness over genuine community service.”

Another backer, Julia Milton, wrote: “This shop with Will at its helm is a pillar to the local community that it serves.

"The use of a shipping container to store goods, which is far removed from the street, is a brilliant sustainable idea and avoids building an unsightly depot that would be seen from the street.” 

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said “We have been engaging with the owner of KJ Building Supplies since 2015 regarding the unlawful use of the land adjacent to the shop as an unsecured builder’s yard and open storage facility, in breach of local planning rules and without planning permission.

“An enforcement notice was originally served in 2018 requiring the owner to cease using this land as a builder’s yard. It does not relate to the main shop building and does not require the business to stop operating. The owner’s appeal against this enforcement notice was rejected by the independent Planning Inspectorate.

“Despite repeated reminders over the past five years, providing the owner with reasonable opportunity to make alternative arrangements, the enforcement notice has not been complied with.

"This has left us with no option but to take legal action against this unlawful development, which is in clear breach of local planning rules. We remain happy to engage with the owner on any development proposals for this land.”