An Exmoor farm can sell alcohol to its customers in what locals have called “not too far” for the area.
Holly Purdey and Mark Brewer run a farm shop and pop-up restaurant at Horner Farm, which is in the National Park between the village of Porlock and Dunkery Beacon, writes Daniel Mumby, journalist for local democracy.
The farm regularly holds events, including pizza nights on Fridays between May and October, with the couple applying for a license to sell alcohol to their customers.
Despite residents’ objections, the Somerset West and Taunton Council licensing subcommittee decided on Wednesday, December 8 that the license could be granted.
Under the new license, alcohol can be sold for consumption on and off the premises seven days a week, including until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Several local residents opposed the plans in writing ahead of the hearing, warning that granting the license would put villagers and visitors at risk.
John Garbutt said: “As a local resident of this very small community of nine houses, we already have the problem with the noise from the nightly events they are hosting.
“Adding the sale of alcohol, I think, will make the problem worse. We already have a larger influx of traffic, which is a safety issue with the unlit parking lot in which children roam freely.
Graham Haw argued that the permit would destroy the tranquility for which the small village of Horner had become known.
He said: “A small village of nine residences, filled mostly with elderly people, is not enough for them. [the owners of Horner Farm], so most of their business will come from people walking to the site from Burrowhayes [Farm camp-site] or drive there.
“This raises the possibility of drunk drivers colliding with the many walkers and other vehicles, and an increase in the amount of garbage.
“While I realize that it is difficult, but not impossible, to make a living from farming these days, I think that actually setting up a pub in Horner is a step too far. ”
The applicants responded that they did not intend to start a pub but wanted to feature local beverage producers, such as Exmoor Gin (which is distilled in Dulverton) or Exmoor Ale (which is brewed in Wiveliscombe).
They said: “The vision is not to consume on site during the day, but visitors and locals have access to purchasing local products for the benefit of the local economy.
“As the majority of visitors to our pizza parties are actually local or from the campsite (going up), it seems unlikely that there will be a sudden increase in the number of drunk drivers.
“We have a responsible policy in place and customers book taxis if they do not have a designated driver. ”
After a brief meeting, the subcommittee voted in favor of granting the license as originally requested.