BOSSES at a food factory near Ilminster have apologised to a resident after they worked beyond their opening hours due to a busy Christmas period.

Rydiness Farm, based off Hare Lane, on the outskirts of Broadway, opened later than the hours set out by South Somerset District Council officers to meet their orders before the festive period.

The factory, which makes frozen desserts, has opening hours of 8am to 8pm Monday through to Wednesday, 8am to 5pm Thursday and Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

Owner Liz Dove said: “We did a few extra hours in the run-in to Christmas to get the orders done. We are back to normal hours now.

“The council understands our situation and most people are hugely supportive of us.”

Margaret Hallam, who lives next to the factory, said staff had been arriving before their shift and staying on working until after the factory’s closing time.

She said: “These hours are not being adhered to and workers have been arriving at about 6.30am in the morning and on some occasions operating to 9pm in the evening.

“There is a combination of noise and extra traffic during this time.”

Mrs Hallam told The News she has no objection to smaller business in rural areas.

In an online planning document on the district council website, Mrs Hallam said she has other concerns about the factory, which she says ‘cannot adequately accommodate the parking, commercial collection and deliveries, refuse disposal and storage required for an operation of this size’.

A spokesman for the district council said they were aware of the situation, adding: “The owners of this important local business have confirmed that the extra demands for their frozen desserts over Christmas did mean they needed to work slightly longer hours on several occasions and they have apologised for this.

"They did, however, stress that some of the operations outside of the hours were in connection with the cleaning of the kitchens rather than production.

“They have confirmed there is no intention whatsoever to exceed the approved hours again.”

The council said the incident had been investigated and did not feel there was any need to pursue the matter at this stage.