Farm set to launch shop for local ales

A shop selling locally brewed ales and beers in north Suffolk could be open by the summer.The shop, which will be in a converted thatched barn on Priory Farm in Wrentham, between Beccles and Southwold, has won planning permission to sell beer brewed from barley grown on the farm.

A shop selling locally brewed ales and beers in north Suffolk could be open by the summer.

The shop, which will be in a converted thatched barn on Priory Farm in Wrentham, between Beccles and Southwold, has won planning permission to sell beer brewed from barley grown on the farm. The site, which will also sell guest ales, will be a visitor attraction as well as a retail outlet and will show the link between the barley farm and the end product.

Keith Perry, who spoke in support of the application at the Waveney District Council planning meeting in Beccles on Wednesday night, said the business will be “breaking new ground by being located on the site of a classic Suffolk barley farm”.

It is modelled on the successful real ale shop at Branthill Farm in Wells, which stocks 40 locally brewed ales. And there are hopes that north Suffolk could get its own equivalent of the Meander scheme, a partnership between shops in the north Norfolk area which encourages people to visit the other businesses in the scheme. Mr Perry said: “Starting something like the Norfolk Meander would increase local viability for small enterprises which are often lost at the moment in the village because of the threat of big supermarket chains.”

Farmer Roger Middleditch is the man driving the plan, with support from the Benacre estate.

Wrentham councillor John Goldsmith said: “I haven't heard a single objection. These farmers have done very well in the past promoting farming in this area. There is also plenty of parking and I don't think there will be any problem with traffic at all.”

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Most local residents support the idea and say that it will allow beautiful old farm buildings to be reused and will promote the village economy.

Some concerns have been raised about traffic as the shop expects to have about 30 visitors on a busy day. New signs will direct traffic towards the site via the A12 Guildhall Lane and out in the direction of Benacre Hall to reduce congestion on the narrow country roads.