UK's first Spar farm shop and cafe planned for Longridge dairy home to Ann Forshaw's yogurts

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If passed, it would be the first Spar farm shop in the UK.

A farm shop and cafe could soon be opening at a dairy in Longridge.

James Hall and Co, owners of Alston Dairy in Alston Road, have tabled new proposals for the site, which would also feature car parking and service yard, an extension to the dairy warehouse and installation of solar panels. If plans are passed, the extension and new farmshop could create up to 70 jobs, and it would be the first Spar farmshop in the UK.

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In a planning statement to Ribble Valley Borough Council, the agent for James Hall and Co said the dairy extension is required as the existing production plant is insufficient for current output, "with limited capacity to produce a greater range of products including ice cream, milkshakes and chilled desserts."

It is envisaged these new products will be manufactured largely using milk from the dairy herd on site, delivering sustainable local products. The new farm shop would stock the full range of Ann Forshaw products and other locally produced goods.

An artist's impression of how the new development would look at Alston Dairy.An artist's impression of how the new development would look at Alston Dairy.
An artist's impression of how the new development would look at Alston Dairy. | James Hall/Studio John Bridge/RVBC

The agent added: "The inclusion of a cafe will constitute a community asset as well as generating local employment. Although a ‘Shop’ is currently advertised at the site access, this is purely a counter for local residents to purchase yogurts in bulk and the proposal represents a signifcant enhancement to the offer."

What would it look like?

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The new farm shop is proposed to built on the existing grassed area currently separating the dairy from the public highway. It would have cedar cladding and a stone base, which resembles characteristics of surrounding properties in the village. The roof would be a natural grey slate, with a number of roof windows visible from the southeast and solar panels.

A new storage building would have a red brick base to tie in with nearby residential properties but also include cedar cladding in keeping with the proposed new farm shop.

What about access and parking?

The existing access from Preston Road will be retained as the primary point of access into the site. Parking for the farm shop is proposed to the north of the building, which is in front of the shop’s main entrance. This would provide 26 spaces, some with EV charging points. The new staff car park for the dairy would provide 42 spaces.

History of Ann Forshaw's

Ann Forshaw begin making yogurts at Bolton Fold Farm in the 1980s and her range of products is now sold across the country in thousands of sites. In February 23, James Hall and Co aquired the business. The family’s Bolton Fold Farm, next door to the dairy, remains under ownership of the Forshaw family.

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