Published: 30 July 2019
Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust (TCCT) is thrilled to unveil plans for an exciting all-weather visitor destination at Occombe Farm.
The regenerated Occombe will incorporate a mix of indoor and outdoor play and activities alongside a much larger farm shop, improved café and flexible activity space with new rental units; providing a year-round destination.
The farm visitor attraction will be a unique visitor experience, unlike anything currently available in Torbay. It will incorporate animal paddocks for rare breed cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry, with an indoor barn accommodating small animals for supervised handling and feeding. Fun, interactive play features and treasure trails will also be incorporated throughout this area.
A new barn will house an innovative countryside-themed play barn with adventure play for children and party room. One of the UK’s most highly regarded play specialists will design and build the new play facility to provide a safe, stimulating experience for children, 2-12yrs, and reflecting Torbay’s special natural heritage. Adjacent will be an outdoor play zone with a giant jumping pillow and other activities such as ride-on tractors.
The existing farm shop will be remodelled and eight times bigger than the current facility, offering a comprehensive range of local produce alongside seasonal items and gifts. TCCT will seek to minimise single-use plastics and incorporate refillables and recycling.
Occombe Farm Café will be refurbished with new toilets accessible from inside the building. The kitchen will also be reconfigured to improve efficiency and speed of service. A new, larger terrace will allow more customers to enjoy the outstanding views over the nearby countryside.
A “Community Barn” will provide a flexible space available to rent by the hour for group classes and activities. Three ground floor units will be available for long-term rental to enterprises that add to the appeal of Occombe Farm.
The indoor play facilities will utilise sustainably sourced natural materials. Landscaping will feature enhancements for wildlife, including new species-rich hedgerows, a pollen and nectar zone and an arable wildflower area. TCCT aims to minimise the environmental footprint through good design, incorporating a biomass heating plant, extended solar array and rainwater harvesting. The entire site will be accessible to all.
It is anticipated that the new Occombe enterprise will create up to 60 new jobs. The Trust hopes to start building work in early 2020, and open the doors on the new Occombe as early as July 2020.
Damian Offer, Chief Executive of the Trust said
“This is a very exciting project for the Trust. It will provide a unique destination in Torbay for local residents and visitors. Even better, the profits from Occombe will be invested by the Trust in improving Torbay’s coast and countryside.”
For twenty years, Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust has been responsible for physically protecting and conserving over 1,700 acres of land in Torbay including Berry Head Nature Reserve, Cockington Country Park, Occombe Farm and various woodlands, cliffs and coastal walks.
The Trust currently receives funding from Torbay Council to help manage the land that it cares for, but budget pressures on the Council have led to significant reductions in the funding provided to the Trust since 2013 and is expected to decline further. The regeneration of Occombe would provide future revenue to secure the financial independence of the Trust moving forward.
A planning application has been submitted to Torbay Council and the Trust are waiting on the outcome. In the meantime TCCT is working hard to secure funding for the project through private and corporate investment.