Plans for a restaurant, cookery school and bakery at a remote farm near Aldermaston look likely to be rejected next week.

The Wasing Estate want to transform Shalford Farm, in Brimpton, with plans including:

  • Converting the main barn into a restaurant , with a bar
  • Turning the ‘Old Dairy’ building into a cookery school and bakery
  • Building a new Dutch barn-style building for an estate farm shop, food fermentation and event space for yoga classes
  • Converting the ‘Old Piggeries’ building into seven bedrooms for overnight accommodation

Reading Chronicle:

It says it wants to “progressively regenerate the whole estate to maximise and enhance its sustainability and ensure the longevity and upkeep of its assets”.

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The estate sees the plan as an opportunity to sustainably use the food its farms produce and provide accommodation for guests from its wedding venue Wasing Park.

But West Berkshire Council planning officers are recommending refusal and say their principal concern is the location.

Four residents have objected to the plan, raising fears over:

  • Impact on local roads
  • Wrong location for ‘town centre uses’
  • Overdevelopment
  • Increase in noise and light pollution
  • Impact on local heritage

The council’s planning officers have focused on the first two of these concerns as their reasons for suggesting the committee reject the proposal.

They said the plans would “undermine” nearby retail centres, while the “fairly remote” location and the nature of the local rural road network “would not be likely to actively encourage” sustainable modes of transport.

Officers say there could be an extra 400+ private car movements per day on these rural roads, which would be harmful to local road safety and contrary to local and national policies which seek to reduce carbon emissions.

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Highways officers have added their view that the plans will generate an “unacceptable level of private car traffic on rural roads”.

On the other hand, planning chiefs did highlight some benefits of the schemes, such as new rural employment, helping to sustain an important local employer, and providing additional opportunities for new local businesses.

A previous similar application with additional retail units for the adjoining wedding business was rejected by WBC in March 2019, a decision which has been appealed.

WBC’s planning committee will vote on the plans next Wednesday (July 15).