Burgess Hill farm shop and tea room given the green light

Twenty-five jobs and a foundation promoting the training and mentoring of young people will be created after permission was given to open a farm shop and tea room in Burgess Hill.

During a meeting of the planning committee on Thursday (January 21), Mid Sussex councillors gave enthusiastic approval to the plans for Ote Hall Farm, on Janes Lane.

Owned by the Godman family since 1530, the farm specialises in rearing pure Sussex cattle and also houses a business park in its old dairy buildings.

Explaining to the committee why the shop and tea room was needed, Carola Godman Irvine said: “Ote Hall Farm would not have survived as a purely traditional run farm without having already diversified.

“The farm shop is now central to further diversification and is essential for financially future-proofing the farm now and into the next century.”

A report to the committee said a percentage of the profits from the shop would be set aside for the Godman Foundation, which will promote the education, training and mentoring of young people, including those with learning difficulties.

The council receive 54 letters supporting the plans and none objecting to them – something chairman Gary Marsh said had rarely happened during his 18 years on the committee

The shop will include a butchery counter, deli counter, craft drinks, fresh, frozen and pantry goods, and a ‘weigh your own’ dry ingredients station.

There will be parking for 90 cars as well as 20 secure spaces for bikes.

After the meeting Carola said they were ‘delighted to have received such widespread backing’.

She added: “Ote Hall would not have survived as a purely traditionally run farm without having already diversified with business units and as a wedding venue. The farm shop project is essential to future-proof the farm financially, now and into the next century.”

“We have been overwhelmed by the public’s enthusiastic backing, including 53 letters of support sent to the council, and hundreds of personal messages both verbal and written from the local community.

“Our aim is to make quality, local produce more accessible - and, crucially, to also provide jobs at such a critical time for the local community. We fully intend for our farm shop and tea room to become the ‘go to place’ for the local community to meet, shop and talk, as well as provide a showcase for local farmers.”

It is expected that the Ote Hall Farm Shop & Tea Room will open in 2022.