PLANNING permission is being sought for work which will allow a West Somerset ice cream maker to move to purpose-built new premises.

Styles Ice Cream has operated from the family farm in Rodhuish for the past 35 years but has now bought the empty Wibble Farm Nurseries, near Williton.

Company founder David Baker wants to relocate the business to the 17-acre nursery site by September of this year.

He has asked Somerset Council for consent to remove derelict greenhouses and replace them with shipping containers to house equipment for the production of Styles ice cream.

Planning consultant Cerys Dehaini, of Squirrels Architecture, said ice cream manufacture fell under the same planning category as the plant nursery which previously occupied the site and so a change of use application would not be needed.

Mrs Dehaini said the purchase by Styles of the Wibble nursery was ‘an exciting opportunity to regenerate the whole of the site to create a place that can support and enhance the local community, economy, nature recovery, and transition to net zero’.

She said: “There is clear benefit to the local economy through the sustainable development of this established local business and the provision of local employment.”

Mrs Dehaini said it was proposed 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.

There would also be a rainwater harvesting system and a significant solar panel installation to provide all the power for the Styles business and most of the energy needs for the rest of the site into the future.

Sustainability and environmental impact was a key consideration and the development proposals included landscaping features to increase biodiversity and enhance the character of the site, and electric vehicle charging points for both private and business vehicles.

Mrs Dehaini said a whole site ecological appraisal was being undertaken to inform holistic plans for the enhancement of biodiversity across the wider Wibble nurseries.

Somerset Council is asking for any public comments on the plans to be submitted by January 25 and has set itself a target date of February 24 to decide the application.