Annabel's cafe at Loversall Farm in Doncaster re-opens in new location after planning dispute

A cafe aimed at walkers and cyclists and located on a family farm has begun trading again in a new location.

Annabel's in its original location. It has since moved
Annabel's in its original location. It has since moved

Annabel Lee applied for consent to operate Annabel's on land next to a public footpath at Loversall Farm, but her proposal was recommended for refusal by Doncaster Council planners in January because it was considered an inappropriate development within the Green Belt.

However, before the decision could be ratified at committee level, the Lee family withdrew the application and closed the cafe, which had already been open for several months under planning rules which allow for applications to be made retrospectively within a defined time limit.

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Earlier this month, Miss Lee confirmed on the business's Facebook page that the cafe was open again and that the portable building - a converted railway car - had been relocated from the edge of the footpath to another site beside a barn on the family's property.

The development originally required consent for a change of land use from agricultural to a takeaway food and drink outlet to be able to operate.

The reasons given for the refusal related to concerns over traffic, parking, litter and the impact on wildlife at two lakes near to the farm which were created as part of an environmental mitigation scheme when the iPort freight terminal was built.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has now taken over the management of the lakes as a nature reserve, and public access is expected to be limited in future to protect biodiversity. The charity objected to the cafe proposal, citing potential wildlife disturbance.

Over 5,700 people signed a Change.org petition calling for the cafe to be allowed to remain open - with Miss Lee telling supporters that the application had been withdrawn to allow the family to address the concerns of the council, local residents and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust before re-submitting.

Announcing the re-opening, Miss Lee posted: "Thank you to each and everyone of you for signing the petition! We appreciate it so much and we look forward to seeing everyone again this weekend.

"Please remember Annabel’s is only accessible by foot/bike; we ask you to please use our car park at Loversall Farm, only a mile's walk from us. Please note there is NO parking allowed at the Dominion housing estate.

"This is a takeaway service - you must leave the premises after you have collected your order."

In a separate proposal submitted in 2017, permission was granted for a barn at the farm to be converted into a function room that was to include a tearoom as part of the family's weddings business.

Doncaster Council's director of economy and environment Dan Swaine said: “The applicant has provided additional information in order to ascertain whether planning permission is required. The council is currently considering this information before taking a view and providing a response.”