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Café set to open in Santon Downham, near Brandon, despite concerns from the Forestry Commission

A council has granted permission for a café to open at a Suffolk beauty spot despite initial concerns from the Forestry Commission.

The owners of Bridge Cottage in Santon Downham, near Brandon, submitted a planning application for temporary change of use of land, where they want to install a caravan and six tables.

Plans submitted last year said tea, coffee and cake will be sold from a vintage caravan, with the aim of attracting ramblers, dog walkers and cyclists that regularly visit the Suffolk village.

Plans have been approved for a café in Santon Downham. Picture: Google
Plans have been approved for a café in Santon Downham. Picture: Google

Currently the land at Bridge Cottage, in Mark Lane, is being used as a garden area and is close to a Forestry Commission car park.

On Tuesday, West Suffolk Council approved the application, meaning the temporary change of use will be in place for three years.

In October, the Forestry Commission objected to the plans, saying: “The property is subject to a restrictive covenant which prohibits the use of the property for any purpose other than as a single private dwelling and not to carry out from the property any trade or business.

“The applicant is proposing to use the Forestry Commission's toilet and car parking facilities located at the commission's office in Santon Downham for their customers.

“No approach has been made as to whether this is acceptable and in any event this use would not be consented.”

However, the applicant has now reached an agreement with the Forestry Commission, undertaking a car parking survey to demonstrate its car park could serve potential customers.

The caravan café will be allowed to open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 11am to 4pm.