Published: 06:00, 27 March 2021
A bid to open a farmers' market on the edge of Canterbury has been redrawn after the city council refused the scheme on grounds it would “urbanise a rural area”.
Candyco, the firm behind the plans for the former Bygones reclamation yard off Nackington Road, is having second stab at trying to get the project green lit.
The proposed marketplace is hoped to become a go-to destination for locally sourced produce - selling a range of goods, as well as boasting a cafe for light lunches and breakfast.
Rather than having farmers and customers having to travel to different locations to sell and buy items, the new development is envisaged to have a "synergy and combination of similar traders in one location"
But last summer, the council looked unfavourably upon the £400,000 scheme and criticised the vision for having outdoor trade stands housed in shipping containers.
Unimpressed officers also raised concerns that turning the proposed countryside location into a retail destination would be harmful to the area.
As a result, developer Nick Brown - the boss of Candyco - has tweaked the project and stressed that Merton Lane is the only viable spot in the city for such a development.
Plans to have shipping containers out in the open have been ditched in an effort to "reduce the visual impact on the landscape and the surrounding open countryside".
They will instead be housed in existing outbuildings on the site.
Developers argue the site already has permission for 'retail use' considering its previous life as an antique reclamation yard.
Planning documents state: "The site will become a destination for customers who would be able to combine their shopping trips, to buy local farm produce, in one location.
"The cafe will provide an additional service, and will showcase some of the produce for sale in the shop, and will be an added reason to come to the site.
"There are a number of local businesses in the immediate area that would benefit. It would have an economic benefit to the local and wider East Kent economy.
"The site will undergo a significant, positive visual change in its appearance."
Plans for the farmers' market go hand-in-hand with Mr Brown's vision to build a £5 million pie factory at an undisclosed location in Canterbury.
The envisaged processing plant - which is set to produce meat, vegetable and fruit pastries - is dependant on the marketplace getting up and running first.
Should it be given the seal of approval, the dog-friendly complex, of which the main building will be in black timber cladding, will have 35 parking spaces.The off-shoots of the success of the business will be directed towards a firm helping veterans and ex-service personnel re-integrate back into society.