Pop-up restaurant may start serving alcohol — but some locals aren’t happy

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A farm in the heart of Exmoor can sell alcohol to customers in what locals have called “a step too far” for the area.

Holly Purdey and Mark Brewer run a farm shop and pop-up restaurant at Horner Farm, located in the national park between the village of Porlock and the popular Dunkery Beacon.

The farm hosts regular events, including pizza nights on Fridays between May and October, with the couple applying for a license to sell alcohol to their customers.

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Despite objections from residents, the Somerset West and Taunton Council licensing sub-committee decided on Wednesday morning (December 8) that the license could be granted.

Under the new license, alcohol can be sold for consumption on the premises and for take-out seven days a week, including until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Several local residents objected to the plans in writing ahead of the hearing, warning that granting the license would put villagers and visitors at risk.

John Garbutt said: “As a local resident of this very small community of nine houses, we already have the problem of noise from the nightly events they hold.

“Adding the sale of alcohol, I think, will make the problem worse. We already have a higher influx of traffic, which is a safety issue with the unlit parking lot that the children roam around freely.”

Graham Haw argued that the license would destroy the tranquility for which the small village of Horner had become known.

He said: “A small village of nine residences, filled mainly with elderly people, is not enough activity for them. [the owners of Horner Farm]so most of their business will come from people walking to the site from Burrowhayes [Farm camp-site] or drive there.

“This increases the possibility of drunk drivers colliding with the many walkers and other vehicles, and an increase in the amount of litter.

“While I realize that it is difficult, but not impossible, to make a living from farming these days, I think actually setting up a pub in Horner is a step too far.”

Candidates replied that they did not intend to set up a pub but wanted to showcase local drink producers, such as Exmoor Gin (which is distilled in Dulverton) or Exmoor Ale (which is brewed in Wiveliscombe) .

They said: “The vision is not for on-site consumption during the day, but for visitors and locals to have access to purchasing local produce to benefit the local economy.

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“As the majority of visitors to our pizza nights are actually locals or campers (uphill), it seems unlikely that there will be a sudden increase in drunk drivers.

“We have a responsible policy in place and customers book taxis if they don’t have a designated driver.”

After a short meeting, the subcommittee voted to grant the license as originally requested.

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