Rural Herefordshire location wins battle to host weddings


An upmarket restaurant, music and events venue in the Herefordshire countryside has won an ‘incredibly exhausting’ planning battle to host weddings at its new £3million facility.

Crumplebury Farm, home to the Green Cow Kitchens restaurant, asked in July 2017 to demolish five outbuildings on the farm, near Whitbourne to the east of Bromyard, to use the space to expand its restaurant and event facilities, and build 16 “accommodation suites”.

The request was granted but with several conditions, including that it “must be used for a restaurant, guest accommodation and conference center and for no other purpose”, and that no music should be played after 11 p.m. time.

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At the end of 2019, with the £3m redevelopment already complete, the farmhouse asked for the ‘unreasonable’ use restriction to be removed, so it could host weddings and other events as planned. origin, and also to have the time when music was allowed. extended until midnight.

It was reported at the time that the venue had already taken around £1million in advance wedding bookings by this stage.

The offer attracted around 40 objections locally, and although the council agent recommended granting it, planning committee councilors decided in November 2020 to reject it, citing the likely impact on neighbors and the road safety.

But planning inspector Mazer Aqbal has now agreed with the owner of the site that it was “unreasonable” that the initial authorization would limit its use.

As the problem depended in part on potential disturbance from neighbours, the farm’s adoption of a noise management plan, as required by the permit, meant that the restriction of use was “neither necessary nor relevant for planning,” he said.

The noise reduction plan included a volume-limiting sound system in the Great Hall, which can be ventilated without the need to open windows and doors, and the installation of acoustic curtains inside.

However, Mr Aqbal concluded that the initial condition limiting the time until which music could be played to 11 p.m. was “necessary and reasonable to safeguard the living conditions of neighbours”.

He also imposed a condition preventing fireworks on the farm, which has also been a point of contention with neighbors.

Extending the use of the farm to social functions would meanwhile be “unlikely to have a significant negative effect on road safety”, he added.

Farm owner Joe Evans said of the inspector’s decision:

“While we are relieved that the Planning Inspector upheld our appeal and removed Condition 4 from our planning consent, we take no joy in the process, or the divide it has created in our community. .

“When we got planning permission in 2017 to build Crumplebury as a multi-purpose venue, we had no reason to believe it would rule out weddings. The decision of the town planning inspector is proof of this and we are grateful to him.

“Our aim was and remains to make Crumplebury a force for good – a sensitively built, environmentally sound and financially viable business that employs local people, puts rural Herefordshire on the map and helps bring much needed investment to the county.

“The appeal process and the publicity surrounding it has been incredibly draining, both emotionally and financially.

“We are grateful that with this decision we can now freely achieve our vision of creating a culturally rich program of events at Crumplebury, from classical music and comedy to conferences and weddings.”

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