Major redevelopment approved for Brockbushes farm with new farm shop, tea room and play barn

A major redevelopment to support a growing business in the Northumberland countryside has been approved, despite its sensitive location.

By Ben O'Connell
Wednesday, 3rd June 2020, 3:06 pm
Updated Friday, 5th June 2020, 6:26 pm

The application, for the demolition of the existing buildings and erection of new buildings to accommodate a farm shop, tea shop, play barn and production kitchen, plus a new car park and planting, relates to Brocksbushes, just off the A69 to the east of Corbridge.

The scheme was unanimously approved by Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee.

Recommended for approval, the proposals sparked just one objection and 17 letters of support, but went before the councillors ‘given the nature and scale of the proposed development within the green belt and as a departure from the development plan’.

Brocksbushes, off the A69 near Corbridge. Picture from Google

The bid was also backed by Bywell Parish Council and planning officer Neil Armstrong told the remote meeting that there are considered to be ‘very special circumstances’ in terms of the economic and social benefits that outweigh the impact on the green belt.

However, the councillors’ decision is subject to referral to the Secretary of State who may or may not want to call it in.

The county council’s tourism team stated that the scheme will likely ‘accommodate modern visitor expectations and will facilitate the growth of the county’s food and drink by offering increased opportunities for local producers and suppliers to get their goods to market’.

The officer’s report added: ‘It is also suggested that the combination of dedicated play spaces, informal play areas and the interactive nature of the pick-your-own enterprise at Brocksbushes provides a route to engage children with the countryside. The inclusion of flexible education and events space will further add opportunities to achieve social benefits.’

A submission from the applicants, the Dickinsons, explained that the expanding business is ‘constrained by our timber buildings, which are sadly not fit for any growth’.

The development will create 20 new jobs and is expected to result in a three-fold increase in visitor numbers and an extra £10.4million contribution to the local economy.

Coun Richard Dodd said: “It’s been a very long time watching this grow. It’s one of the jewels of the Tyne Valley and I think we should support it in these times.

“If you can’t put a farm shop in the countryside, where can you put a farm shop?”

Coin Jeff Reid added: “I wish it had been a bit more imaginative in its design, but it fulfils a very important function and we should applaud the entrepreneurial spirit.”

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