Go ahead for shop orangery

A BLAGDON-BASED business is celebrating after it received the green light for a new extension.

Approval for the orangery at the rear of Milkhope Coffee Shop was granted by the county council’s north area planning committee, despite officers recommending refusal.

They said the new addition would detract from the significance of the historic farm complex and negatively impact the grade II listed building itself and this would not be outweighed by the economic benefits of the development.

It will create up to two full-time and six part-time jobs and the shop says it will increase the number of visitors to the Milkhope Centre.

Business Manager Graham Carr said: “We’re really pleased that the committee gave us planning permission and we’re grateful to our architect – Elliott Architects – for putting forward our case so well at the meeting.

“We received support from other businesses at Milkhope because they recognised the importance of the coffee shop being able to cater for more visitors.

“We could understand why the council’s conservation officers had concerns, but we’re pleased the committee members saw that our design will accentuate the existing building without attempting to be a pastiche.

“The plans involve providing some cover in an area which is currently open, so customers can use it when it rains, but putting in an orangery means that it will still have an outdoor feel and having predominantly glass on the windows allows people to see the original building when they are eating and drinking.”

He added that a schedule of works will be drawn up in the coming weeks and the plan is to start work on the extension in the autumn.

It will measure approximately 4.9 metres in width and 12.25 metres in depth and it will have a flat roof with a maximum height of 3.1 metres.

In a report to the committee, planning officer Joanne Wood said: “It is considered that the loss of the distinctive T shape at the heart of the unusually large example of a planned 19th Century cattle farm complex would depreciate the agricultural character and special interest of the listed building and the agricultural character that is still readable within the landscape.”

But there were no letters of objection against the development and seven letters of support. As well as other businesses at the Milkhope Centre, two customers urged the county council to approve the application.