Posted: Wed 22nd Jun 2022

Wrexham farm shop planning appeal dismissed due to impact on countryside

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An appeal against the refusal of plans for a farm shop on the outskirts of Wrexham county borough has been dismissed.

Dorian Hopkins, who owns Bowling Bank Farm in Worthenbury, applied to convert a stable at the site into a shop in December 2020 in a bid to diversify his business.

Permission was later denied by planning officials from Wrexham Council, who said it would represent “an undesirable intrusion into the landscape”.
They also said not enough information had been supplied to show how it would impact on traffic in the area.

Mr Hopkins launched an appeal to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales towards the end of last year in a bid to have the decision overturned.

He claimed the development, which would also have seen a cafe and bar created at the farm on Mulsford Lane, would deliver benefits for the community.
However, the appeal has now been thrown out by a planning inspector appointed to oversee his case due to concerns about the impact on the countryside.

In a notice outlining his decision, Declan Beggan said: “It appears to me that the degree of works required to enable the development to proceed would be tantamount to the erection of a new building in the open countryside without justification.
“Such development would result in an undesirable intrusion into the landscape.
“In this respect the proposal would therefore run contrary to policies which seek, unless justified, to strictly control development permitted in the open countryside.
“Whilst the appellant has referred to selling goods or produce made or grown on the site, I saw little in the way of evidence of such activities during my site visit, nor has the appellant provided any substantive evidence to corroborate such claims.”

He added: “I appreciate the proposed retail element of the scheme has the potential to bring about socio and economic benefits and would operate in conjunction with the other activities proposed for the site.
“However, bearing in mind all the above, the proposal is neither justified or appropriate in its rural location.”
In an appeal statement, Mr Hopkins said there was a need for agricultural businesses to adapt in light of difficult economic circumstances.
He added it would also create new job opportunities for the area.

He said: “We feel Bowling Bank Farm could play such an integral part of community life if we are permitted to develop the site.
“Traditional farming methods have changed drastically and with global changes over the last few years, most notably the Covid pandemic and Brexit before that we firmly believe it is time to embrace the opportunities that farm diversification schemes could bring.
“Our proposal seeks to form a community hub that is presently missing within the village.”
But Mr Beggan also backed the council’s concerns about the lack of information provided to assess the scheme’s impact on traffic.
He concluded that the appeal should be dismissed in light of all the evidence put forward.

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter



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