THE home of Wirral Food and Drink Festival has announced plans for a major expansion – including a new farm shop and demonstration kitchens.
The proposals for Claremont Farm in Bebington are set to be discussed by Wirral Council’s planning committee when it meets tomorrow (October 25).
They include new kitchens for the farm, which has specialised in producing and teaching about local food and its production.
Andy Pimbley, from Claremont Farm, said he could not comment on the plans ahead of the meeting.
But the application said the farm aimed to expand its role in educating people about food production and promoting locally grown produce.
More than 3,000 schoolchildren on educational trips have already visited Claremont Farm, which has also played host to tens of thousands of visitors each August bank holiday for Wirral Food and Drink Festival.
A report by planning officers, which will be considered by councillors in their meeting tomorrow at Wallasey town hall, outlined the background to the proposal to build a 200m sq steel-framed building.
It would provide agricultural storage and incorporate a two-storey farm shop, cafe, demonstration kitchens and training rooms.
The report said a car park and new access will also be created if councillors approve the plans.
Officers recommended the scheme is approved, even though the site is in the Green Belt. Although local consultation resulted in concerns about increased traffic, the council’s director of technical services has not raised any objection to the scheme.
The report said: “The use of Claremont Farm as host to Wirral Food and Drink Festival has boosted local businesses and tourist facilities supporting the local tourism economy in general.
“The applicant is actively involved with food education through his work with schools and access to the farm.”
The report added: “It is considered the applicant has sufficiently set out reasons that demonstrate the very special circumstances, namely that the proposal will support an existing agricultural enterprise as well as providing additional significant economic benefits to the area.”