The owners of an adults-only glamping site in Somerset can now sell gin and vodka from their home following a decision by district councillors.
Matthew and Paula Tyler run the Owley Woods glamping site on the outskirts of Cheddar, providing space for up to ten individuals at a time to stay in five glamping pods.
The couple began selling locally-produced gin and vodka online during lockdown, and sought a licence to sell its products for consumption off-site under the Cheddar Gin and Spirits Brand.
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Sedgemoor District Council has now approved this licence following a virtual panel hearing on Tuesday morning (November 16).
Under the terms of the licence, the Tylers will be able to sell alcohol between 9am and 11pm daily for consumption off the premises, and can use their garage as a storage and dispatch facility for online orders.
Addressing the panel, Mr Tyler said he already provided bottles of beer or prosecco within the welcome hamper for their guests.
He said: “For about two years, we’ve been developing local spirits using our local products – we’ve got Cheddar spring water, our own honey and strawberries. It just made sense to do this.
“This is a micro-business. We’re not talking about having a shop up here – we’re talking about small numbers of sale, including maybe some local restaurants.”
Cheddar Parish Council objected to the licence due to the site’s proximity to the West Mendip Way, a popular 30-mile walking route that stretches between Wells and Weston-super-Mare via the Mendip Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
Parish councillors contended it would not be “appropriate” to have HGV deliveries along this stretch of the path – a concern which both Mr Tyler and the panel brushed aside.
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Mr Tyler said: “We’ve never had any issue with pedestrians – we certainly don’t have throngs of people coming up the West Mendip Way to access Cheddar.
“We’re certainly not having large deliveries on HGVs – if we’re doing a show somewhere, we’ll pick up stuff from North Petherton.”
Councillor Polly Costello, who chaired the meeting, added: “It sounds to me like the parish council were clutching at straws to try and find reasons to object.”
After 20 minutes’ debate in a confidential session, the panel voted to grant the licence with the agreed conditions from the police.
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