Railway wagons to be converted into holiday lets on village farm

Alburgh village sign. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Alburgh village sign. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Old railway wagons will be converted into high-quality holiday lets on a village farm to give people visiting the Norfolk countryside a place to stay.

South Farm owner Richard Bond has tried to diversify his business in recent years, allowing businesses such as Grain Brewery, Peachies Preserves, Waveney Ice Cream, Green River cars and Moorcroft Kitchens to be located on the 182ha site in Alburgh, near Harleston.

His latest vision is to bring two former railway wagons to a 1.3ha field adjoining Low Ditch Road, which will be converted into high-quality holiday units.

Two existing small, brick-built outbuildings will also be turned into a kitchen, dining area and store.

The idea is based on the similar Brockford Railway Siding venture in Suffolk, with each wagon containing one bedroom.

A planning document submitted to South Norfolk Council said: 'The site is too small for arable farming and looks out across very attractive countryside to the south that makes it such an ideal site for the proposed use.

'The proposal will add to the successful small businesses that have been established on South Farm and provide additional employment for an existing employee who is not currently fully occupied.'

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Of the businesses already on the site, it said: 'Together these businesses employ between 15 and 20 people and make a very valuable contribution to the local rural economy.'

There was general support from Alburgh residents at a briefing event held in October, although 'some expressed concern about the potential impacts of any future expansion', according to the planning document.

Jackie Ellis, clerk to Alburgh Parish Council, said: 'Alburgh parish councillors consider the application should be approved.

'The only concerns were that this would grow to more wagons in following years.'

South Norfolk Council has approved the plans, although it ruled that: 'No trees or hedges shall be cut down, uprooted destroyed, lopped or topped, other than in accordance with the approved plans.'

It also said a car parking and vehicle access area must be fully laid out before people start staying in the holiday units.

The planning permission lasts for three years.