pic courtesy of Google Maps - Grange Farm in Marbury

A South Cheshire farm is set to become home to a wedding venue after councillors granted planning permission, despite objections, writes Stephen Topping.

The Charlesworth family, which has been farming at the Grange Farm in Marbury near Wrenbury for 35 years, has been given the go-ahead to use its site as a wedding venue to provide additional income.

At Cheshire East Council’s southern planning committee yesterday (August 8), Cllr Stan Davies, Conservative member for Wrenbury, urged the board to reject the scheme due to the impact it would have on road safety in the area.

“I called this in for members to see for themselves the narrow road structure,” he said.

“It might have just managed to cope with this property when it was a farm.

“The comings and goings were all day, now and again, but not in convoy.”

Cllr Davies highlighted a lack of passing places for motorists driving to and from the farm, while Cllr Janet Makin, from Marbury and District Parish Council, suggested noise from the venue would disrupt both residents and horses.

She said: “Guests leaving at 1am will inevitably cause a noise nuisance.

“It is open countryside with houses within 200m of the building and only 6m from the road.”

But second-generation farmer Tom Charlesworth insisted his family’s venue would have a “low impact” on the area, and help to boost Cheshire East’s visitor economy.

He said: “The business is supporting three families – my parents, my brother and his wife, and myself, my wife and our eight-week-old son Alfie.

“Grange Farm is no longer operating as a livestock farm. We are an arable farm of 40 acres which nowadays isn’t viable for a farming business, so the plan is to use the unused farm as a wedding venue.”

Cheshire East Council received 23 letters of objection against the scheme and 19 letters of support before the meeting.

Opening the debate, Cllr Janet Clowes (Conservative) suggested the position of Grange Farm “in a bowl” meant noise should not be too much of an issue – and vehicles could pass each other on the lane outside.

“Diversification is unfortunately proving to be the lifeblood of farms as we move into a very different era for agriculture,” she said.

“For the people at the top of the lane, I have to be honest – I find it difficult to understand how they will be grossly impacted by noise.

“There will be some no doubt, but it’s not as if it is going to be on the same level a few feet away – it simply isn’t.”

But Cllr Rhoda Bailey (Conservative) was not convinced that the nearby lanes would be able to accommodate traffic heading to and from the venue despite the developer’s plans to improve road safety.

“There’s a difference between a convoy of three people and a convoy of 50 going along those lanes,” she said.

“The addition of four extra passing places goes a little way towards alleviating that but I’m not sure it goes very far.”

Members voted to approve the planning application, following on from the Charlesworths obtaining a premises licence for the wedding venue in April.

(pic courtesy of Google Street Maps)

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