A farmer’s bid to turn a cafe into holiday apartments with balconies overlooking Pendle Hill

A farmer has been granted permission to convert a cafe into vacation rentals in a bid to diversify her income.

Rachel Wolfenden has submitted a planning application to Ribble Valley Borough Council to change the use of a former café associated with a riding school into two holiday apartments.

Ms Wolfenden, owner of the 60-acre Broomhill farm in Grindleton, reveals in her application that the riding school, which opened in 1996, generated enough business to warrant opening a cafe on the site, but that it closed in 2008.

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In 2012/2013 the cafe building was leased to a charity which used it as meeting space, but the charity vacated the premises at the end of 2020.

“The café has been vacant since January 2021 and rather than leaving this space to remain vacant and without use for a café, the proposed holiday homes will provide Mrs Wolfenden and her family with a diversified income and benefit the wider rural economy. “said a report submitted with the states of application.

The app highlights the growing number of self-catering holiday rentals in the Ribble Valley, including “new build caravans, lodges, chalets, yurts, shepherd’s huts and cottages”, as well as “several new wedding venues”.

A planning statement reveals: “The proposed holiday apartments will each offer an open plan kitchen, dining area and living room, bathroom and bedroom. The living room will have a sofa bed so that each apartment can accommodate up to four people.

“One apartment will have 767 square feet of accommodation, the other 675 square feet, and each will have an outside balcony from which they can enjoy views of Pendle Hill.”

Access to the apartments will be from Smalden Lane which Ms Wolfenden says can “adequately cope” with the additional traffic that will be generated.

A report by planning officer Laura Eastwood, which recommended approval, reveals that no objections were made to the proposal by local residents or Lancashire County Council’s motorways department.

The plans have been approved by the council and work should begin within three years.

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