Campsite bid for farm to boost business
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A farm near Axminster is bidding to convert a field into a campsite.
Great Jackleigh Farm, at Wyke, has applied to East Devon District Council for permission to accommodate up to 25 tents or touring units.
It comes after the farm took advantage of a relaxation of rules last summer - at the height of the coronavirus pandemic - that allowed landowners to host campsites.
After a successful experiment at Great Jackleigh Farm, the owners intend to make it a permanent fixture for the business.
The application reads: "Due to Covid-19, we limited the number of camping units to 25 to ensure plenty of space between pitches, and maintained high levels of cleanliness in our facilities.
"This was respected and much appreciated by our guests.
"During the main school holiday period we operated at our maximum, which made clear how much demand there was in the area for a camping field of this nature and saw return visitors within the 56-day period.
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"Our visitors enjoyed the quiet, more relaxed location, with stunning views over the Axe Valley, nearby footpaths for walking the dogs, and Axminster town on the doorstep.
"A majority of visitors were drawn to the area by the Jurassic Coast and its beaches, but didn't want the hustle and bustle of seaside towns at the end of the day."
The application says facilities would be installed should the application be approved, including showers and toilets, with part-time staff employed to manage them.
And it says the site would help current businesses in Axminster.
"All of our visitors frequented Axminster for provisions and eating out," the application says.
"Many visitors explored the town and surrounding area and its various attractions, bringing much needed trade to the area.
"Although most arrived by car, some visitors arrived via train to Axminster Station and walked or cycled the short distance to the farm."
Access to the camping field is via Wyke Road, and through a gateway which is large enough to allow a tractor with trailer to enter with no problems.
It says neighbours have been 'very supportive'.
"With farms being encouraged to diversify in these challenging times, the addition of a small camping field would see an alternative income stream to support the farm as a business," it adds.
For more details on the plan, and to comment, log on to eastdevon.gov.uk/planning and search for application reference 21/3268/FUL.