St Peter café to close its doors next month

A CAFE in St Peter will be closing its doors next month after being issued with an enforcement notice by the Planning Department.

The Ranch in St Peter opened in September (29479660)
The Ranch in St Peter opened in September (29479660)

The Ranch Café and Farm Shop, in Rue de la Grande Vingtaine, opened in September but will now be obliged to close, having not secured the necessary planning permission.

Officers took action following complaints by neighbours of the site at Ferndale Farm and a deadline of 19 November has been issued for the business to stop trading in its current guise.

The enforcement notice published on the government website refers to the general presumption against development in the green zone, adding that the café had ‘intensified the existing use of the site, causing a significant increase in traffic, noise and general disturbance which is considered detrimental to neighbouring residential properties and highway safety’.

Martin Shotbolt, co-founder of The Ranch, said the venture had been set up in good faith but conceded that its popularity had also contributed to its demise.

‘It’s been really successful and I think in the end that’s been its greatest downfall – we’ve outgrown the site very quickly,’ he said. ‘It has been very disruptive to neighbours – we totally recognise that.’

The decision had been taken not to appeal against the enforcement notice, Mr Shotbolt added.

‘We’ve taken advice and because we’re in the green zone and just off a parish lane we felt it wasn’t realistic,’ he said.

Mr Shotbolt and his business partner Caroline Parsons have written to neighbours, apologising for the problems, which have included traffic congestion in a rural setting, notably at weekends.

They hope to find a new location for The Ranch, retaining the features of the current site, which encouraged social inclusion, use by community groups and providing opportunities for local food producers and craft businesses.

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