Anger over bid to close award-winning Cumbrian village bakery
Last updated at 12:21, Wednesday, 16 October 2013
An award-winning bakery that once received a publicity boost from one of the world’s most famous rock stars is poised to be turned into housing.
The owners of The Village Bakery at Melmerby, near Penrith, want to close the business and convert the overall site into three homes, saying it is running at a loss.
The plan has caused anger among some villagers and a string of objections have been raised.
Protesters say the bakery brings employment and claim other businesses benefit from people arriving in the village specifically to see and buy from it.
The Village Bakery has won a string of fine food awards and proved to be a pull for both tourists and Cumbrians.
In 2008 former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney was snapped carrying an oven glove from the Eden business, which has a cafe and gallery on site.
It was also featured in a programme starring TV chefs The Hairy Bikers.
Eden Council planners are recommending the application be approved. Council documents say the site is operated and owned by Cumbrian business Bells of Lazonby and no baking takes place on site, with goods brought in from Lazonby, near Penrith.
The plan would see one part of the site returned to a former residential use, making a four-bedroom house. An attached barn would be converted into another four-bedroom house.
Permission is also being sought for consent to demolish a further building at the back, currently leased to a toy-maker. It would be replaced with a third house.
Seventeen letters of objection have been sent to the council. Concerns include worries over employment, the “detrimental” effect the closure would have on the village and claims it would be “a loss to the wider tourist industry”.
The council document states: “Sales have fallen substantially and are predicted to do so into the future.
“As the bakery is part of a wider local employer, this application is considered in the wider context of supporting Bells of Lazonby and maintaining levels of employment generally.”
Melmerby resident Linda Robinson said: “I am not against housing development but I am against business opportunities like this being lost without them being advertised on the open market first.”
Fellow villager Janet Davies said “people far and wide” held the bakery dear. “It provides much-needed jobs and brings visitors to the village, who also support our shop, pub and guest houses,” she added.
The plan will be discussed at Penrith Town Hall tomorrow.
First published at 12:03, Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
@supporter, so what are Bells supposed to do now? Run the business at a loss so the village can retain the commercial site? Or perhaps they can try to sell it though no one will likely pay much for it now they've been in the media saying the business has been running at a loss. The reality is the building will be empty before too long which will make it even harder to market, so well done to the people that objected.
Eden District Council Planning Committee showed considerable foresight when it decided that the site of Melmerby Village Bakery should remain - for the time being at least - a commercial rather than a residential site. It was giving its support for Melmerby to be more than just a dormitory village of which there are already too many.Just because many villages in Cumbria have lost many of their services is no reason for not resisting that process.It is unfortunate that short term a big profit is to be made from housing developments particularly in pretty villages. We are told that there is another housing bubble on the way. What a tragedy that is. What if more businesses are replaced with housing? Where will people find work? If attractive housing were not already overpriced there would be more capital available to support businesses which provide both jobs and products. Those of us lucky enough to already own our own homes can sit back knowing the capital value of our asset is being increased whilst the youngsters in Cumbrian villages cannot find well paid jobs or affordable housing.A commercial site provides the opportunity for a vigorous entrepreneur to provide some jobs which is a good starting point.Well done EDC planning committee.
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