PLANS to convert farm buildings into a shop and cafe off the A339 have been approved by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

The application was submitted on behalf of the Manydown Company on March 14, 2023.

The company 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 plans propose the conversion of the old Woodgarston Farm into a Cobbs farm shop, which was previously located at Scrapps Hill Farm off Worting Road before closing in July 2023.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Woodsgarston Farm

The application states that the previous site was 'small with difficult access' in addition to an increase in energy costs impacting on the 'inefficient building' which is said made the site 'unviable'.

The farm shop will offer a butchery, fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods, store cupboard essentials, dairy products, a delicatessen and a cafe.

The proposals also include a new access road and enhancing the existing network of public rights of way to connect to the farm, as well as a new direct route for walkers and cyclists from Basingstoke.

However, the application received a mixed response from residents, who raised concerns about the dangers of building the shop off the A339, Kingsclere Road.

One resident objected to the plans, saying: "In the proposed development the site entrance is in a dangerous position on an already fast-moving and dangerous road, as it's a busy road with 70mph."

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Another said: "Road conditions are totally unsuitable and unsafe. There is already 1 farm shop in Wolverton Park run by local people; there is no need for another."

In favour of the plans, one resident said: "The shop would provide new rural employment opportunities and would reduce the need to drive either to Basingstoke or to Newbury and would create a new gathering venue for the community."

During a development control committee meeting on May 15, a representative for Manydown Company told councillors: "The existing farm access into the proposed site is unsuitable due to poor visibility."

They added that the new access will "incorporate an improved crossing of the A339 for users of the boat, new bus stops and dedicated footways on either side of the A339".

The committee decided to approve the application, with five members in favour of approval.