Tea room without tea!


16 December 2014

By Keri Constantatou

With the need for diversification more and more farmers are looking for creative ways to subsidise their income. In a recent ‘Farmers Weekly‘ article Mark Saich, a beef farmer from Sussex is putting the finishing touches to his £150,000 investment, a farm shop.

All was well until planning permission, as dictated by the South Downs National Park Authority, stated he can only sell products in the shop from his own farm or produced from within the park area – and not beyond it.

The ruling means Mr Saich will not be legally allowed to sell tea or coffee, or any other food produced outside the confines of the national park, from his shop.

Wording from SDNPA planning decision.

“No items shall be sold from the shop other than produce from Wayfield Farm and food and drink or other items produced within the South Downs National Park unless otherwise agreed in writing with the SDNPA

Reason: To ensure that the retail element of the proposal supports the local economy and does not have an adverse impact on the viability of retail units within the existing settlements.”

Mr Saich said: “When the shop opens, people will want to buy everything they need in the one visit. But I cannot grow tea, coffee, olives, avocados or bananas on the South Downs, so I will need to sell a percentage of products produced elsewhere.

If you are considering the change of use of existing agricultural buildings or plan to develop new commercial building, always seek advice from a Chartered Town Planner.

If you have any questions relating to business in the rural community, our Agricultural Team will be pleased to hear from you.