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Outdoor wedding venue expansion approved by West Norfolk councillors

A West Norfolk wedding venue is set to offer more couples the chance to tie the knot, after plans to expand the site were agreed.

Open air venue Wellington Lodge Farm, in Northwold, applied to West Norfolk Council for permission to install tipis, tents and shepherd’s huts at the site.

And the plans, which included a change of use for the venue, as well as mobile toilets and car parking, were approved by councillors at a planning meeting on Monday.

Planning Applications (37561431)
Planning Applications (37561431)

Councillors unanimously voted to approve the plans – despite concerns about road safety and fatalities due to increased traffic.

Planning officer Hannah Wood-Handy told the committee the farm on Thetford Road was an “existing farm diversification business” which currently hosted around ten weddings per year and wished to “expand their offer” from between April to September.

But Northwold Parish Council objected to the plans over access to the A134, and said: “This will increase the traffic flow to a junction with restricted vision.

“This could cause or generate the possibility of accidents.”

And Tom Ryves, Independent councillor for Methwold, said: “A month ago there was another fatality where a cyclist was killed.

“As councillors we have a duty – these roads are seriously not safe.

“We should concern ourselves with very significant highways issues. This affects communities and they have been campaigning to be taken seriously.”

Mike Lloyd, speaking on behalf of the family who operate and own the venue, said: “Wellington Lodge Farm specialises in low-impact, pet-friendly and family-friendly weddings. Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, it had established an enviable reputation and a full diary.

“To meet the growing demand for the venue and to accommodate weddings cancelled as a result of the pandemic.”

Weddings host 80 to 100 guests on average which last from early afternoon until around midnight.

Committee member Sam Sandell said: “This is a fantastic business opportunity. The plan is excellent. I don’t personally think highways is a massive issue.”

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