Rural businesses prevented from setting up

SOMERSET villages could become isolated and devoid of shops as new businesses are being refused planning permission due to lack of public transport to the parishes. A planning application to set up a second-hand children s clothes shop in Tarnock, off

SOMERSET villages could become isolated and devoid of shops as new businesses are being refused planning permission due to lack of public transport to the parishes.

A planning application to set up a second-hand children's clothes shop in Tarnock, off the A38, was refused by Sedgemoor District Council on the grounds that there are poor transport links to the village and the business would encourage more car-use.

However, limited public transport links mean villagers have to travel out of the area for shopping and leisure activities anyway.

Sedgemoor district councillor John Denbee said: "A lot of small businesses are having difficulty setting up. It's a real problem.


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"The new shop was next to a nursery and a lot of cars go in and out of there anyway so it was in an ideal location for a children's clothes shop.

"Planners are turning down similar applications all the time and it does seem harsh. I think they are afraid of a supermarket setting up right in the middle of the countryside.

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"I think the planners need to let small businesses open but attach conditions so it can't turn into a mega store."

Only one bus service travels to villages such as Tarnock, Biddisham, Cross and Weare and just on a Tuesday and Thursday.

But Clare Beretvas, who applied for planning permission for her second-hand children's clothes shop, Second's Best, wanted to set up her business in one of the buildings next to Yew Trees Nursery School in Yew Tree Farm.

The mother-of-three is appealing against the decision because she says there are very few stores and facilities for villagers already.

She said: "There's a real need for shops in Tarnock. There's nothing here except a farm shop, a pub, a nursery and an industrial estate.

"My idea was to try to recycle clothes and baby equipment. I have three children and it's very expensive to buy for them so I thought a second-hand shop would be a great help to parents.

"The shop is right next to the nursery and it's in an original building so it has no impact on the area."

Rich's Farmhouse Cider farm in Watchfield, near Highbridge, also came up against obstacles in May when it wanted to open up a 60-seater restaurant as Sedgemoor District Council said there was no need for it in a rural area.

But owner Jan Scott said: "It's been a complete success. We use produce and meat from nearby businesses and it's all home-cooked food. We've been very busy.

"Sedgemoor District Council should be encouraging small businesses or we will end up with lots of supermarkets.

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