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Morel Farm project needs £1m

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PLANS to turn one of the Island's most famous farmhouses into an agri-tourism business are on hold until £1 million can be found to fund the project.

The National Trust for Jersey was granted planning approval five years ago to turn Morel Farm in St Lawrence into a farm-stay guest house with a self-catering unit in the site's old bakehouse.

The charity had to put the project on hold, however, after diverting funds to restore and convert the Foot Buildings and neighbouring historic properties in Pitt Street, to create three flats and retail units at a cost of £1.2 million.

The 19-century properties are part of a larger group of buildings at Charing Cross, which the Co-op is in the process of remodelling to create a larger store, offices and a Premier Inn.

As the trust's planning permit for Morel Farm is due to expire, chief executive Charles Alluto says they are applying to extend the permission for a further three years.

He said: 'The idea is for Morel Farm to go back to being a small-holding so we can maintain a degree of public access and enjoyment, which would be supported by the farmer running a small bed and breakfast business.

'We want to renew the permit for a further three years in the hope that the funds will become available for us to start the project in the future.'

Set behind a double-arched gateway in the rural heart of St Lawrence, in Rue de la Fontaine St Martin, Morel Farm consists of a farmhouse and a range of outbuildings around a rare cobbled courtyard, made with beach pebbles.

There are two small plots of land to the north and east of the property. It dates back to the early 18th century, and was gifted to the National Trust by Arthur Morel in 1939.

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It is currently occupied by a tenant who does not work the land.

The Planning Committee is also being asked to approve the conversion of a farm complex in Grouville into holiday accommodation.

The Earl of Jersey, William Child-Villiers, has submitted an application for Radier Farm in Chemin du Radier, across the road from his family home, Radier Manor.

The farm, which was largely built in the 17th and 18th centuries, comprises an original farmhouse, cottage, barns, stores, bakehouse and garages.

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