A PROPOSAL to convert a barn and farm shop while creating 32 parking spaces is set to be refused due to concerns it would “fail to protect” the character of the rural location.

The latest application by Mr J Purdy for Great Braxted Farm Shop, on the junction of Braxted Park Road and Maldon Road, will go before Maldon District Council's planning committee next week.

The site,  which includes two existing buildings and a car parking area,  sells flowers, fruit, meat, fish, and other shelled food.

The farm shop is outside of any settlement boundary - the line which divides where the towns or villages end and the countryside starts - and has two full-time and three part-time existing employees.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Produce - The Great Braxted Farm Shop sells produce such as fish and sea shelled foodProduce - The Great Braxted Farm Shop sells produce such as fish and sea shelled food (Image: Great Braxted Farm Shop)

Plans were looking to change the barn to a farm shop, with the existing farm shop being turned into a café, creating an internal floor space of 283 square metres on two floors – nearly three times bigger than the current farm shop.

The proposal said this would create four full-time and four part-time staff.

A total of 32 parking spaces were proposed including two electric vehicle charging points, two disabled parking spaces as well as cycling parking provision.

The proposal said while the farm shop is a “profitable business”, an expansion may be “desirable for the manager”.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Shop - The existing farm shopShop - The existing farm shop (Image: Great Braxted Farm Shop)

A report, set to go before councillors, says the expansion is considered acceptable for its impact on the natural environment and was not seen as a “prejudice” to the vitality and viability of existing businesses in the nearby area.

The report also said the newly created jobs would be a “limited benefit which does not outweigh the harm caused”.

An extension to the farm shop was approved in November 2020 but then a prior notification for the change of use of the agricultural building to “a flexible business use” was refused in April 2021.

Further two applications in 2021 and 2023 for the site to change use from being an existing agricultural barn to a commercial space were both withdrawn.