THE green light has been given by planners for a West Somerset ice cream maker to relocate to new premises which will be purpose built for the business.

Styles Ice Cream has been given permission to convert light industrial buildings and structures on the former Wibble Farm Nurseries site near Williton to facilitate its needs, including adding renewable energy generation.

The business has been based in Rodhuish for the past 35 years but company founder David Baker wants to relocate to the 17-acre nursery site by the autumn of this year.

Planning consultant Cerys Dehaini, of Squirrels Architecture, said a ‘change of use’ permission was not needed because ice cream manufacture came under the same category as the former plant nursery.

Mrs Dehaini said it was ‘an exciting opportunity’ to regenerate the site to support and enhance the local community, economy, nature recovery, and transition to net zero.

She said Mr Baker wanted to develop an existing steel-framed barn and the area surrounding the main nursery building to accommodate the ice cream manufacturing process and associated offices, storage, and presentation space.

The plans included a rainwater harvesting system and solar panels to power ice cream manufacture and provide most of the future energy needs of the rest of the site.

Williton Parish Council supported the proposals as a positive use of the site and commended the green use and energy saving plans, while West Quantoxhead Parish Council did not raise any objections.

Somerset Cllr Rosemary Woods also backed the scheme as it was a good location to provide extra employment, was not overlooked, and was close enough to allow existing employees to easily relocate.

Cllr Woods praised the commitment to climate change by harvesting rain water, using photovoltaic panels, and keeping some of the garden area to support the growing of food.

Somerset Council received one objection to the plans, from Watchet resident Derek Hunt, who said the development should instead be located on the town’s empty Wansbrough Paper Mill site.

Mr Hunt said the Watchet economy was over-reliant on tourism and needed an industrial estate like Williton and Minehead.