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Celebrity chef wins the right to expand
A CELEBRITY chef has been given the go-ahead to expand a horticultural enterprise in the Cartmel Valley – despite objections from neighbours.
Simon Rogan, who runs the Michelin star restaurant L’Enclume, sought consent to build a new polytunnel and regularise two already in place at Aynsome Croft Farm in Cartmel.
He also plans to refurbish a shed and put in new planting beds, with grand plans for an orchard of rare English fruits.
The fresh produce will be used in his restaurant alongside an educational programme that will aim to teach visitors about the growing process before taking food back to cook in the restaurant.
Mr Rogan has a 20 year lease with the owner of the farm and said he was committed to the area and developing a ‘world class facility’.
But while many people backed his plan to source food locally, there were objections from some residents, the Friends of the Lake District and Broughton East Parish Council about the siting of the scheme and its effect on local views.
Neighbour Tony Dixon told the Lake District national park authority’s development control committee: “I have been in the valley all my life. Many of us feel that the polytunnels already there are intrusive and that a third will be even more noticeable.”
Planning officer Bill Murray had recommended the scheme for approval, saying while polytunnels were not a common development in the area they were often used by farmers and horticulturalists to grow crops.
Mr Rogan told the committee: “I was a little bit naive to the amount of fuss this plan would cause. We are leading the way like no other and this is a world class operation for a world-class restaurant.
“We employ more than 50 people, with four more jobs being created on the farm, and this enables us to keep talent in Cumbria – future chefs, waiters and gardeners.”
Chairman Michael McKinley said: “We bang on about sustainability but sometimes we are just paying lip service to it – here is a chance to support something that is real and I don’t think we should miss the opportunity.”