Indoor farmers market turned down by Pembrokeshire planning committee

AN application to create an indoor farmers’ market/traders barn on the site of a deer farm attraction has been turned down by Pembrokeshire planners.

Mr and Mrs Evans of Great Wedlock, Gumfreston, near Tenby, sought a change of use of a former agricultural barn to the trading barn for up to 35 traders selling local produce and crafts, operating up to 61 days a year.

The plans also included an additional 30 parking bays on the site of a former silage clamp.

The site, opposite the Great Wedlock Leisure Park dinosaur park, already has planning permission for the change of use of a range of former agricultural barns to create a deer park attraction with educational and events use.

The application was recommended for refusal by county planners, meeting on April 25, on the basis it would represents an “unjustified use in a countryside location and contains insufficient information in respect of sustainable travel options”.

A report for planners states: “Whilst the proposal may have positive economic benefits for the applicant and the existing deer park business, the provision of retail facilities for local producers/market traders would have the potential to have adverse effects on existing town centres.

“The impact of the development on the retail hierarchy would be likely to have negative social impacts as a result of the provision of retail facilities in a countryside location.  The proposal would deliver a retail area of over 700sqm for the sale of ‘local’ produce and crafts within a countryside location. This is not considered to be a use essential for this countryside location and due to its setting outside of any settlement it is not considered to be a sustainable location.”

Speaking at the April 25 planning meeting, agent Wayne Reynolds said Mr and Mrs Evans had – as a whole – invested some £5m at the site to date, running the proposed trading barn as a “bespoke development” supporting the local economy and encouraging small local businesses.

The proposal was supported by local member Rhys Jordan, who said it would allow small businesses which couldn’t afford sites in Tenby or Saundersfoot to showcase their products.

However, Councillor Brian Hall expressed reservations about the access to the site, offering to move the recommendation of refusal.

Councillor Jamie Adams expressed his sympathy with the applicant, describing it as “an opportunity for cottage industries to add value” [to their products].

However, he said he “was finding it difficult” to support the scheme, recognising what had been said in the planning report.

Tenby councillor Michael Williams warned: “The retail situation in Tenby is extremely fragile; having this outside the main retail area, it’s bound to have a detrimental effect, which should worry everyone.”

Members voted 11 to two in favour of supporting the recommendation to refuse the application.

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