Furness couple turn their Victorian-style farm into a tourist attraction (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Furness couple turn their Victorian-style farm into a tourist attraction
A FURNESS couple have won consent to turn their Victorian-styled farm into a year-long tourist attraction.
Alex and Charlotte Sharphouse's dream of transforming Old Hall Farm at Bouth, near Ulverston, into an open working vintage farm had been recommended for refusal by officers from the Lake District National Park Authority.
But members agreed to approve the application after being given promised it would not become a ‘huge’ tourist hit.
The authority was concerned the tranquil hamlet of Bouth may be ruined if the attraction became a 'runaway success'.
"There's a limited number of people who are interested in a Victorian style of farming," said Mr Sharphouse at a meeting of the LDNPA’s development control committee. "It's our life and passion. It is our home, we live there, the last thing we want to do is spoil that."
However, the popularity of the business could be boosted by the recent BBC2 TV series Victorian Farm. As shown in the programme, visitors will be able to see steam-powered farm machinery in action alongside old fashioned ploughs pulled by heavy horses and cheese making with traditional techniques.
Last year, the couple hosted an open day attracting 600 people. Mr Sharphouse said if the farm was always open it would 'spread' the number of visitors through the year.
"We expect people to stay for a few hours," said Mr Sharphouse. "We will be open all the time so we would expect a steady drip of people coming through. It will be pot luck what is happening on each day,"
A tearoom selling refreshments will also be opened for tourists.
Mr Sharphouse told the meeting that when local residents heard his plans may get refused they rallied together to sign a 150-name petition in favour of the enterprise.
"People say it is really great to see the old machines being used rather than just being stagnant in a museum where people will see them but they don’t actually know what they do," said Mr Sharphouse.
The couple have not set a date for the official opening.