Café, children’s play area and learning zone plan for Ottery farm

Plans for a café, children’s play area, covered outdoor seating area and car park at an Ottery St Mary farm have been unveiled.

The proposals for a wedge of 500-acre Knightstone Farm, off Sidmouth Road, also include a learning zone for youngsters and adults and a fresh milk vending machine.

Blueprints say the scheme will ‘protect and enhance the business for generations to come’.

The scheme could create two full-time and two part-time jobs.

Applicant David Lawrence, whose family has farmed the land for more than 30 years, has asked for permission to build a wooden lodge to house the coffee shop.

It would serve home-cooked food, ice cream and feature a fresh milk vending machine.

A covered outside seating area – which will double as a learning zone with talks and activities for both adults and children – is proposed.

The go-ahead is also being sought for a ‘natural and farm-themed’ children’s play area aimed at youngsters up to the age of 12.

A car park for 12 vehicles and an access track are featured in the application.

Agricultural planning agent Victoria Lawrence says in a statement to East Devon District Council: “In order to enhance the economic stability of Knightstone Farm and to retain local employment it is felt that diversification in such a project would protect and enhance the business for generations to come.

“The main aim would be to add sustainability where appropriate whilst maintaining the farm’s core identity and environmental features.”

Plans describe how the farm added ‘extremely successful’ glamping units in 2014 and 2016.

Of the proposed covered outdoor ‘learning area’, the application says: “We feel it’s important that adults and children learn the importance of how a farm works and the importance of their role in the production of the food that feeds them, their families and friends.

“The area will be used to show children how to care for animals and how proper care is essential in raising quality food.”

Opening hours stated in the application are 9am to 11pm seven days a week and on bank holidays.

EDDC will decide on the plans.

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