Long Ashton Cider House homes plan faces opposition

Apple Tree Day Care Nursery, Wild Country Lane, Long Ashton.

Apple Tree Day Care Nursery, Wild Country Lane, Long Ashton. - Credit: Archant

Long Ashton Parish Council is opposing plans to build new homes at an ‘historic’ site.

Proposals had been submitted to North Somerset Council to build one five-bedroom and one four-bedroom house at Apple Tree Day Care Nursery in Wild Country Lane – formerly the Cider House – after demolishing an extension and bungalow.

The Cider House, later renamed Long Ashton Research Station, began investigations into the growing of apples and production of cider as part of the National Fruit and Cider Institute during the early 1900s.

It later branched out to develop drinks and syrups from various fruits including blackcurrant juice, later marketed as Ribena, before exploring arable crops during the 1980s.

The research station closed in 2003 but the parish council says it is still an ‘important’ part of the village’s heritage.

The council’s response to the application says: “The Cider House is an important historic building which the parish council believes should be preserved and would ask North Somerset Council for it to be considered for listed status. Though unlisted it is a heritage asset and this application would significantly affect its setting.

“It is also noted that the single-storey building, labelled as a 1960s extension in the plans, which is due to be demolished as part of the proposal, is much older than stated and is thought to date from the early 1900s.”

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The owners of the nursery argue that falling demand for places means space at the site is now ‘excessive’.

A design statement prepared by agent Croft Surveyors says: “The Cider House was previously extended on the ground floor to make room for the growing number of children attending the nursery, but in recent years demand has been falling, and now numbers are only approximately 50 per cent of what they once were.

“With falling numbers attending the day care nursery the floor area dedicated to this function is excessive and the car parking areas are somewhat surplus to requirement so the owners are keen to see this space used more effectively.”

North Somerset Council will make the final decision.