Pick-your-own farm deal means cafe can stay open

Rectory Farm has been allowed to keep its cafe, to the delight of owner Richard Stanley

Rectory Farm has been allowed to keep its cafe, to the delight of owner Richard Stanley

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Headington and Marston. Call me on (01865) 425411

A PICK-your-own fruit farm that built a cafe without planning permission say it has reached a “good solution” after striking a deal to keep it open.

Rectory Farm was finally allowed keep its cafe after moving it from a temporary marquee to an extension on the farm building, in Stanton St John.

But South Oxfordshire District Council said the farm was not allowed to keep its delicatessen, because the authority said it threatened the viability of a nearby village shop.

The farm’s owner, Richard Stanley, said he argued the cafe was needed to make the business profitable.

He said: “We did not see there as being any future in just having the pick-your-own on its own. Customers would not come out and everything would go down hill.

“But having the cafe makes the pick-your-own more viable because it makes it more attractive to come here.

“It seems a pretty good solution because we have managed to keep going and we will see how it goes this year.”

The district council granted planning permission for the existing farm shop and pick your own fruit enterprise in 2006.

But the council resisted attempts for the farm building to be used as a delicatessen, which it claimed was not related to farm activites.

It also raised concerns about the farm’s cafe and delicatessan because they would impact on the Green Belt.

Mr Stanley was told children’s activities and picnic benches were allowed at the site but seating at the cafe and delicatessen must go.

The farmer added: “When it got down to public pressure people said it was stupid so we then came to an agreement.”

But the solution with the cafe was reached when pressure mounted on the authority to relent after customers wrote to the area’s MP John Howell.

Henley MP Mr Howell said: “There were a number of issues which needed to be played off against each other.

“There’s the preservation of the Green Belt, which is vitally important, what the farm wanted to do and what was practical.

“I hope that a sensible solution has been reached that accomodates the views of everyone.”

He said about 25 members of the public had contacted him directly to lobby for a solution.

A district council spokesman said the cafe’s impact on the Green Belt, the viability of village shops and the farm’s interests were considered before planning permission was granted.

The spokesman said: “The council doesn’t object to the café in principle. However, we maintain that the café should be part of the farm shop building so it does not impact on the Green Belt or the local village shop.

“The council is supportive of any reasonable proposal aimed at maintaining the viability of the farm as its status as a large and significant agricultural enterprise, as well as it being a legitimate planning objective.”

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:10am Sun 20 Jul 14

Myron Blatz says...

And why not add a nice little windfarm into the package - wouldn't look nice and would keep the neighbours in Stanton St John awake at night - but what the heck, it's only about profits, eh Mr Farmer?
And why not add a nice little windfarm into the package - wouldn't look nice and would keep the neighbours in Stanton St John awake at night - but what the heck, it's only about profits, eh Mr Farmer? Myron Blatz
  • Score: -13

6:52pm Sun 20 Jul 14

faatmaan says...

so why can't the farm have a delicatessen like millets farm ? the competition argument does not hold water as it would be considered to be an anti-competitive practice, what next filling stations not allowed to sell food due to competition with local shop !.
so why can't the farm have a delicatessen like millets farm ? the competition argument does not hold water as it would be considered to be an anti-competitive practice, what next filling stations not allowed to sell food due to competition with local shop !. faatmaan
  • Score: 3

7:04pm Sun 20 Jul 14

The New Private Eye says...

faatmaan wrote:
so why can't the farm have a delicatessen like millets farm ? the competition argument does not hold water as it would be considered to be an anti-competitive practice, what next filling stations not allowed to sell food due to competition with local shop !.
Because he did it in a way that makes him a criminal, he decided to break the law, and personally I would like to see him in prison. Millets farm spent £thousands on the correct licences and are rightly aggrieved that some cowboy can try to copy thier success
[quote][p][bold]faatmaan[/bold] wrote: so why can't the farm have a delicatessen like millets farm ? the competition argument does not hold water as it would be considered to be an anti-competitive practice, what next filling stations not allowed to sell food due to competition with local shop !.[/p][/quote]Because he did it in a way that makes him a criminal, he decided to break the law, and personally I would like to see him in prison. Millets farm spent £thousands on the correct licences and are rightly aggrieved that some cowboy can try to copy thier success The New Private Eye
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree