BOSSES at a children’s animal farm are planning to expand.
Tweddle Farm, in Fillpoke Lane, Blackhall, has submitted plans to Durham County Council to make a number of improvements.
The owners, husband and wife Peter and Denise Wayman, would like to build a new car park with spaces for 146 cars and two coaches, as well as a disabled parking area.
They hope to create improved vehicle access, a new feature entrance wall with flag poles, and to change the use of an existing outbuilding into a new replacement admissions area and gift shop.
The entrance would be moved further north to improve visibility on entering and leaving the site, and the new car park would be moved to the other side of the farm on to land now used for grazing.
The existing entry and exit points would be kept in place – and secured with gates – so that the owner’s parents can get to their homes within the main site, and to provide access to emergency services.
Papers submitted to the council’s planning department read: “The development proposed in this new planning application is primarily intended to improve the existing vehicular access and parking arrangements for visitors to the attraction.
“The developments include moving the existing separate visitor entrance and exit access points further north to improve visibility for visitors entering and exiting the site and other motorists using Fillpoke Lane on the approach to the new single access point for visitors.
“The proposed replacement visitor car park would be moved north beyond the main farm house and former agricultural buildings on to an area otherwise in use as grazing land.”
It goes onto say that the Tweddle Farm owners would also provide a number of passing places on Fillpoke Lane to further reduce the risk of any potential traffic problems.
The farm was turned into a children’s animal farm when planning permission was granted in June 2004.
The Waymans declined to comment on the plans until a decision is made by councillors on Tuesday next week.
The farm was targeted by animal rights group the Captive Animals’ Protection Society in 2010, when an undercover activist posed as a volunteer.
The group made a number of claims about the running of the farm, but these were strongly refuted by the Wymans who claimed they had been victims of a “hatchet job”.
The farm was subsequently subject to an investigation which did not find any serious failings. The farm went on to win an award later that year.