A RURAL estate is planning to open a new farm shop on a farmstead near Basingstoke.

Proposals for a new Cobbs Farm Shop and Café just off the Kingsclere Road near Basingstoke will go on show at a drop-in event being hosted by The Manydown Company.

The Cobbs proposal is one of a number of ideas being presented to the community by The Manydown Company, which is responsible for the large rural estate to the west of Basingstoke, in which the villages of Monk Sherborne, Ramsdell and Wootton St Lawrence are located.

The drop-in event will be held on Tuesday, June 28 at Monk Sherborne Village Hall, Tadley. A website www.woodgarston.co.uk will also go live at the same time.

As work on Basingstoke’s urban extension gets underway, and 650 acres of land, which has been leased from Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council for the past 26 years for arable farming, is returned for development, the Manydown Company said it is looking at ways in which it might diversify to meet the future needs of the population.

Alongside the regeneration of redundant farm buildings at Woodgarston with a new Cobbs Farm Shop, will be proposals for some small rural business units on another farm complex, and improved access to the countryside for people to enjoy fresh air and exercise.

Alexander Dickinson of The Manydown Company said: “As Basingstoke’s urban boundary extends, it’s important to have a conversation about how our rural communities can evolve and thrive whilst protecting their essential character.

“One of the ways in which we might do this is to sensitively breathe new life into some old farm buildings which is why we are proposing to relocate Cobbs@Manydown to Cobbs at Woodgarston.

“We very much look forward to meeting members of the local community on Tuesday 28th June to discuss some of our ideas and listen to theirs.”

Tom Newey, managing director of Cobbs Farm Company, said: “We’ve had the Cobbs@Manydown store for nearly eight years and have been looking for a larger and more accessible site where we can offer a café and ice-cream takeaway for walkers and cyclists.

“The Woodgarston Farm site is perfect, and with its footpaths and views over the surrounding countryside, it will become a destination as well as a place to buy good quality local produce.”

The Manydown Company is also looking at other opportunities to provide circular walks on its land, alongside new initiatives to boost biodiversity and make more space for nature and wildlife. The public will be invited to give feedback on the ideas presented and offer their own suggestions.

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