REFUSED: Ottery farm’s bid for on-site coffee shop would ‘detract from viability’ of town centre

Plans to build a coffee shop at Knightstone Farm in Ottery have been refused. Picture: Getty Images

Plans to build a coffee shop at Knightstone Farm in Ottery have been refused. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A family-run farm’s plans to build a coffee shop to ‘enhance its economic stability’ has been thrown out by district planners.

Knightstone Farm, which has been in the Lawrence family for more than 30 years, submitted a planning application for the café and a covered outside seating/educational area.

The plans also sought permission to build a children's outdoor play area and the provision of an access track and parking area.

However, district planners said the proposal would 'detract' from the vitality and viability of Ottery's town centre.

A design and access statement for the application said diversification in such a project would 'protect and enhance' the business for generations to come.

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It said: "The main aim would be to add sustainability where appropriate whilst maintaining the farm's core identity and environmental features."

The farm already caters to tourists by offering two glamping units, and the applicant said the café would complement both the farm and existing glamping site.

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The proposed eatery would have offered a milk vending machine, serving fresh milk from the farm, and home cooked food.

The outdoor seating area would have doubled up as an outside learning area, the applicant said.

The planning document added: "We feel it's important that adults and children learn the importance of how a farm works and the importance of their role in the production of food that feeds them, their families and their friends."

The play area, catering for children up to 12 years old, would have been constructed beside the coffee shop.

In a refusal notice, district planners said the proposed café would be located on a farm in the countryside where the policy approach is 'one of development constraint and countryside conservation'.

The notice said: "The proposal would not be a complimentary or compatible form of diversification of the farm enterprise and would detract from the vitality and viability of the Ottery St Mary town centre as well as encourage additional car journeys. The development would also result in a loss of Grade II agricultural land and the buildings, parking and access would adversely affect the character and appearance of the surrounding countryside."

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