Image: Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company
The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company expansion plans approved
A famous Somerset cheese company will be able to expand after new plans were approved by Somerset Council.
The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company is based on the B3135 The Cliffs in Cheddar, a short distance from the eponymous gorge, and prides itself on having “the only cheddar made in Cheddar”.
The company, which has been based at its current location since 1989, applied for permission to enlarge its current premises to “expand production and increase the visitor experience via an enhanced tour of the facility.”
Somerset Council has now ruled that this expansion can go ahead, with construction likely to begin in the new year.
The company’s current headquarters lies between Cheddar Gorge and the Cheddar Yeo river – an idea which was targeted for regeneration as part of an (unsuccessful) £19.3m bid to the government’s levelling up fund.
The two-storey extension will include a new bike storage area, making it easier for employees to cycle to and from work.
Plans to expand the company along the same lines were previously approved in 2013, but this permission has now lapsed.
While the expansion will not result in any new jobs being created, the company believes it will boost the number of visitors to Cheddar, meaning more money will be spent both in its own shop and other local businesses.
A spokesman for ArchiWest Architecture and Heritage (representing the applicant) said:
“The proposed new structure is linked back to the existing building through the use of traditional materials and a sympathetic design.
“Accessibility of the building will be improved with the addition of new ramped access points, a new staircase and platform lift.
“The opportunity exists to improve the tourism experience and factory productivity, resulting in a positive impact on the local economy.”
The council approved the plans through the delegated powers of its planning officers, rather than a public decision by its planning committee north (which handles major applications in the former Sedgemoor area).
Construction of the extension is expected to get under way in early-2024.
The government is due to announce details of the third and final round of its levelling up fund in its autumn statement on November 22.
While the round two bid attracted positive feedback from government officials, it is not currently clear whether any of the Cheddar regeneration projects will be put forward in any third round bid.
Source: Weston Mercury