THE owner of a village pub has been granted planning permission to turn the property into a farmshop and kitchen.

Toby Brett bought The Duke of Cumberland in Holcombe, near Shepton Mallet, ten years ago.

After running the pub for five years, he let it out to tenants.

When the tenants decided not to renew their agreement in lockdown, Mr Brett return to reopen the pub in July - while he was waiting for planning permission to start renovations.

“The Duke is a great pub, but the world and the needs of customers has changed over the 10 years I have owned it,” he said.

“It is a large pub, but the majority of it is not used for most of the week.

“This new concept gives us the opportunity to have a more cosy pub at the front while incorporating a shop for the community and an all day family friendly café/restaurant/event space with play area and riverside garden.”

The farmshop and kitchen will have three distinct areas:

  •  The Duke - a traditional village pub with a log fire and local beer and cider.
  • Farmshop - a shop focussed on local produce as well as refillable containers in a bid to reduce unnecessary packaging. It will sell meat, vegetables, cheese, charcuterie, milk, bread, cakes and more.
  • Cafe - a cafe that will be open for coffee, breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. It will open during some evenings. The space will also be used for comedy nights, live music, cookery classes and more.

“I am really excited to get this venture open,” Mr Brett added.

“The village of Holcombe is full of great people who want to support me and likewise I want to give them a facility that is both useful and enjoyable to them.”

Despite the benefits to the Holcombe community, a few residents are unhappy about the plans. They are concerned the development “fails to provide adequate safe parking”.

But Mr Brett has assured residents that if the parking is no sufficient, he will work towards finding a solution.

“We have owned the pub for over 10 years without a single complaint from the neighbours. I was surprised that neighbours choose to object to the planning permission on the basis of parking when there has been a pub here for over 100 years and has more parking than many other places in the local area,” he added.