New farm shop and cafe planned next to village children’s centre
- Credit: Archant
A children’s centre in a small Suffolk village could see a new farm shop and cafe built next door.
Birch Farm Children’s Centre in Silver Hill, Hintlesham already consists of a family play centre, café, indoor swimming pool and a gymnastics centre.
Now proposals for a new farm shop and cafe have been submitted in the hope of attracting customers in the wake of new shopping requirements due to the coronavirus crisis.
A click and collect service has been proposed alongside plans for associated car parking, cycle storage and electrical charging points.
If plans go ahead, the farm shop will create six new part-time jobs and 15 additional car parking spaces, as well as sourcing and stocking local produce helping to support nearby businesses.
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Tom Bryce, the agent acting on behalf of the client, said in his planning statement: “Due to Covid-19, shopping habits have changed dramatically, people choosing smaller retail stores instead of the larger supermarkets.
“The farm shop will enable people to shop more safely and provide an ‘order and collect’ system for the vulnerable.
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“This will provide the nearby village with a much-needed small shop within the community.”
Dawn Easter, economic development officer on behalf of Babergh District Council, said: “The farm shop will be a welcome addition to the area providing another outlet for local food and drink producers and supports the rural economy.
“Birch Farm is already a destination for people using its facilities and it is well located on the A1120 and in walking distance of the village centre.
“The addition of electric vehicle charging points is also to be welcomed.”
Jo Brown, parish clerk for Chattisham and Hintlesham Parish Council, said community leaders had “objected” to the plans and said on behalf of the Parish Council: “This is not a farm shop as not able to produce their own produce, it is a new retail outlet in the countryside which goes against Babergh District Council policy - there is already a shop in the village currently open 3 mornings a week providing services to the village.”
Chris Cornish, senior environmental protection pfficer for Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, said: “Environmental protection have no objection to the proposed farm shop subject to the following conditions.”
The conditions request that the farm shop should adhere to their proposed opening hours of between 9am and 6pm Monday to Saturday and 10am until 4pm on a Sunday.