Exciting plans to open new hotel and restaurant on historic Derbyshire farm

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Plans to start a sheep dairy, complete with creamery, hotel, bar and restaurant have been revealed for an historic farm in the countryside near Crich.

John Bailey and Heather Benbow have submitted a planning application to Amber Valley Borough Council for Wakebridge Farm.

The business would make artisan cheese, including from sheep’s milk, and hopes to offer opportunities to the public, particularly children and people from non-rural backgrounds, to get involved and observe how products are made – ‘from field to plate’.

It also aims to provide agricultural and veterinary employment and training opportunities. The application also states that the proposal would ‘bring new agricultural technologies to Derbyshire which although present on the continent are rare in the UK’.

It continues: “Ahead of changes in the UK farming industry as a consequence of Brexit this could help to make the domestic agricultural sector more sustainable and ensure the farm continues to be part of a working landscape.”

The main farmhouse building on the site is Grade II-listed, possibly dating back to 1772 and it would be restored and transformed into a hotel with restaurant.

The prefabricated farm buildings would house the sheep dairy and creamery.

Meanwhile, the former pig sties would be restored and repaved with cobbles to provide an outdoor seating area.

Two timber cabins would also be built on the site, to cater for dairy workers.

The application states that ‘the farm is extremely well situated in terms of catering for tourism demand in the area’.

It also says: “Whilst the reuse of traditional farm buildings will always result in some change to their character, this must be balanced against the benefits of their restoration and long-term up keep.

“The stone farm buildings are no longer suitable for agricultural purposes and a means of keeping them maintained needs to be found. Many of the buildings are in a poor state of repair. The redevelopment proposals offer the opportunity to restore the buildings, reinstate lost features, better reveal and celebrate their historic significance.”

The plans will be debated by the borough council planning committee in the next few months.