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SOMERSET: Ilminster cider licence

SOMERSET: Ilminster cider licence

CREDIT: Google Maps.

A Bristol cider company will be relocating to rural Somerset after a new licence was granted.

The Bristol Cider Shop Ltd. applied for a licence to sell its cider from a unit within Townsend Farm on the outskirts of Ilminster.

The company has indicated the premises would be “its new head office”, with the public being able to order cider for consumption off the premises through a click-and-collect service.

South Somerset District Council’s licensing sub-committee voted to grant the licence on Thursday afternoon (November 4) – despite refusing planning permission for a new commercial unit on the site the day before.

The farm, which lies around a mile east of Ilminster town centre, is already home to Tom’s Bike Shed, a bicycle repair and servicing company.

Under the proposals, the company’s cider can be sold for consumption off the premises every day between 9am and 6pm.

Bristol Cider Shop owner Pete Snowman said it was unlikely that the premises would be open at weekends, except to deal with large orders at Christmas or other busy periods.

He said: “All of the representations are based on a bit of a misunderstanding of what we’re trying to do here.

“I get the impression that there’s an assumption that we’re basically going to open a bar, or at least have a shop, where people can drink on-site.

“Actually, that’s not the case at all. We’re simply looking to open a warehouse where we pack cider.

“There’s reference in the representations to late-night traffic and people driving around drunk – which obviously wouldn’t be something anything that we could control anyway, because it’s simply breaking the law.

“But both of those things would only be relevant if we were serving anything for people to drink on-site, which we’re not. We’re going to be shut by 6pm.”

Up to four employees will be on-site at the new warehouse during normal officer hours, with a small ancillary office being planned.

A spokesman for the company said: “The premises will be the new head office of Bristol Cider Shop, an award-winning business selling traditional craft cider.

“No members of the public will be permitted on site except to collect pre-purchased orders from the office.”

Arthur Tatham, who lives near the site, alleged that the company had not given neighbours sufficient notice of the plans.

He said: “I don’t believe that the notice was properly served – it was attached to the front of Unit 2 inside what appears to be an animal pen, so it’s quite difficult to view the application.

“The only reason that residents found out about this application was because of the planning application relating to the site – we only found out about this a few days before the end of the consultation period.

“Unit 2 is designated for agricultural use, not commercial use.”

The council refused permission on Wednesday (November 3) to convert Unit 2 into a commercial unit, with officers arguing it would lead to an unwanted increase in traffic on the narrow country lanes.

After a short period of deliberation in confidential session, the sub-committee voted to grant the licence, despite Mr Tatham’s objections.

Councillor David Recardo, who chaired the meeting, told Mr Snowman following the decision: “We are aware that with the licence being issued, work can’t be done on the premises until the planning application is resolved.

“We’ve agreed to approve the licence as requested, which included click-and-collect and your delivery regime.

“We are taking at face value that you only intend to use the weekends should you need to at Christmas or very busy periods, and this won’t become a regular occurrence.”

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter


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