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High hopes for farm park
9:25am Wednesday 20th February 2013 in Ilminster
AN animal park near Ilminster could attract up to 70,000 visitors a year if plans are approved later today (Wednesday).
Montpellier Enterprises have applied to South Somerset District Council for permission to develop land at Horton Cross Farm, close to the Monks Yard centre, into a tourist attraction.
The council’s Area West committee is set to approve the plans this evening.
The scheme involves renovating redundant farm buildings and turning the fields around them into an animal park concentrating on countryside activities and the keeping of rare breeds to help promote British farming and locally produced products.
Planning officer Andrew Gunn said: “The current buildings will be used for activities including an interaction area where children will be able to learn about and have contact with a range of different animals.
“There will also be a demonstration area which will have different activities throughout the year, including milking, shearing and lambing, along with lectures and talks to schools and adults.
“There will also be an educational play area along with an outside play area and adventure playground.”
The applicants will enter into a franchise agreement with the Cotswold Farm Park Ltd, which is an established centre for rare breed conservation.
A spokesman for the applicants, said: “It will offer a total countryside experience.”
The applicants have said the park would be open from March to October, and would employ eight full-time and 25 part-time and seasonal staff.
The council has received three letters of concern about the proposals with fears about the extra traffic generated and the impact it could have on the Monks Yard business.