REFUSED: Plans to redevelop Monkton farm shop into homes is 'unsustainable'
PUBLISHED: 17:27 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:30 20 November 2019
Plans to transform a Monkton farm shop and other buildings into five homes have been refused by officers at East Devon District Council (EDDC).
A bid to build the houses on the site of Oaklands Farm Shop was submitted earlier this year.
The business, sited in an area outstanding natural beauty (AONB), has been extensively marketed since it was put up for sale with a guide price of £860,000.
Despite interest, the lot did not sell and plans were drawn up to transform the site into a residential development.
The plans said: "The agricultural buildings are no longer required for use associated with the farm business and, as such, have become redundant.
"In addition, the future viability of the farmshop/cafe is uncertain given that farming activities are not as intensive and the business is very seasonal."
EDDC planning officers refused the plans using delegated powers.
A refusal notice published by the council said: "The proposed development by reason of its location in the open countryside, distanced from essential services and facilities required for daily living and where options for alternative modes of transport are extremely limited, would result in an unsustainable form of development with reliance upon the use of the motor vehicle to access such services and facilities to meet the everyday needs of residents."
The application cited the presence of Otter Valley Ice Cream and Field Kitchen as having an impact on the profitability of the business.
It said: "The business has been actively marketed since March 2015, however evidence and feedback suggests that a number of potential buyers were reluctant to view the property, given the continued uncertainty of the proposed works to the A30."
The plans' design and access statement said the applicant sought planning permission to 'diversify' the farm holding and convert the 'struggling' farm shop to secure the ability of a 'scaled down, more focused farm enterprise'.
The financial struggles of the business were outlined in the design and access statement.
It said: "It is run by a husband and wife team who have confirmed that the business fails to turn a large enough profit to return a full salary."