An update on our new cafe

The Farm has had a long-standing aspiration to have a larger, indoor café – and that ambition has just taken a big step closer to becoming a reality. Find out from Malcolm, one of our valued trustees, what has happened since our previous post.

“I’ve been involved in the life of the Farm since autumn 2016, with a particular interest in the café project, working with a small group of staff and other trustees to push things forward. We have gone from an early feasibility study (funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation), through to developing ideas about the location, the size and the look of a café (particular thanks to FCB Studios for their work here) to using a grant from the St John’s Foundation to be able to commission a detailed design and other professional inputs.

Last week we reached the significant milestone of submitting a full planning application, hoping for a decision by the Council in April. Over the summer last year we began to think that locating the café by the play area adjacent to the car park had many advantages and since then we have been working with Ann and Rhodri from Hetreed Ross Architects to agree a design that works well in that space. Here’s what we hope the café will look like:

To look at the full planning application click here.

If you support the idea of the café and like the design then it would be great if you could say that to the Council using their website or in writing. 

Of course, getting planning permission is only the next step in getting the café built – we then have a fundraising “mountain” to climb. We are still working on a final target figure that we need to raise – but it is likely to be between £400,000 and £500,000! That sounds like a scary amount to try to raise – but we have been working on plans to do just that, while we have been developing the designs.

Despite all this effort devoted to getting the café built, the most exciting thing for me is thinking what the café can help us do when it opens:

  • produce more food on the Farm, and cook more dishes ourselves to demonstrate a field-to-plate story that you won’t get at any other café
  • use the indoor seating and the two terraces will make a visit to the Farm more enjoyable and encourage visitors to stay longer and explore more
  • generate some additional income to help the Farm to become a bit more independent and a bit less reliant on outside grants just to keep going
  • create more volunteer opportunities to provide local training and potentially employment
  • turn the café into a cosy “hub” for our local communities

If you want to be kept up to date with more news of the café please send your contact details to or leave a comment below.” 

Malcolm Dodds

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