Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Herb Farm applies to build cafe extension

AN extension could be built at a garden centre in Sonning Common.

AN extension could be built at a garden centre in Sonning Common.

Richard Scott, who owns the Herb Farm off Peppard Road, has applied for planning permission for a 224 sq m extension for a new cafe.

There has been a cafe on site since 2003. It was initialy called the Orangery Coffee Shop and then became Daisy’s Coffee Shop.

In 2015 Daisy’s relocated to the Dog Inn in Peppard so the garden centre coffee shop was run in-house and Mr Scott says it has become increasingly popular.

The two-storey extension would include an open plan cafe, kitchen, cold store, two craft rooms and toilets on the ground floor with an office space on the first floor.

A outdoor dining area would also be created.

The application says the “ethos” behind it is to “improve and upgrade the existing inadequate kitchen facilities to enable the Herb Farm to deliver an outstanding visitor experience to all customers” and to “provide improved toilet facilities for customers and a comfortable year-round café environment”.

It continues: “The existing space in the old barn will become available as a small function room that can be used for events by local groups as well as school visits.

“Space will be available to display educational information about herbs and wildflowers and their place in the environment. The two craft rooms will be available to local people to sell their own hand-crafted items.

“It is also fair to say that the existing operation has completely outgrown the existing facilities and so to maintain the vitality and viability of the business it is essential to upgrade them.

“It is of paramount importance to offer a quality product in times when internet shopping seems to be the norm in retail — a unique customer experience is required.”

Six new staff parking spaces would be created.

The business, which has 25 full-time employees, opened in 1985 and has grown.

Originally it was a specialist herb growing business but introduced home and garden products in 1989.

In 1995 new polythene tunnels were added and in 1999 a timber-framed barn was built.

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, will make a decision by September 29.

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