A high-end restaurant, music and events venue in the Herefordshire countryside has won an “incredibly draining” planning battle to host weddings in its new £3 million facilities.

Crumplebury Farm, home to the Green Cow Kitchens restaurant, applied in July 2017 to demolish five outbuildings at the farm, by Whitbourne east of Bromyard, to use the space to expand its restaurant and events facilities, and build 16 “accommodation suites”.

The application was granted but with several conditions, including that it “should be used for restaurant, guest accommodation and a conference centre and for no other purpose”, and that no music should be played after 11pm.


In late 2019, with the £3 million redevelopment already finished, the farm applied to have the “unreasonable” use restriction removed, in order for it to host weddings and other events as originally intended, and also to have the time when music was permitted extended to midnight.

It was reported at the time that the venue had already taken around £1 million in advance wedding bookings at this stage.

The bid drew around 40 objections locally, and despite the council officer recommending granting it, councillors on the planning committee decided in November 2020 to reject it, citing the likely impact on neighbours and highway safety.

But planning inspector Mazer Aqbal has now agreed with the venue's owner that it was “unreasonable” for the original permission to limit its use.

As the issue hung partly on potential disturbance to neighbours, the farm’s adoption of a noise management plan, as the permission required, meant the restriction on use was “not necessary or relevant to planning”, he said.

The noise plan included a volume-limiting PA system in the Grand Hall, which can be ventilated without the need to open windows and doors, and the installation of acoustic curtains within it.

However Mr Aqbal concluded that the original condition restricting the time until which music could be played to 11pm was “necessary and reasonable for safeguarding the living conditions of neighbours”.

He also imposed a condition preventing fireworks displays at the farm, which has also been a point of contention with neighbours.

Extending the use of the farm to social functions would meanwhile be “unlikely to have any significant adverse effect on highway safety”, he added.

The farm’s owner Joe Evans said of the inspector’s decision:

“While we feel relieved that the planning inspector has upheld our appeal and removed condition 4 from our planning consent, we take no joy from the process, nor the divide it has created in our community.

“When we were granted planning permission in 2017 to build Crumplebury as a multi-use venue, we had no reason to believe this would exclude weddings. The decision by the planning inspector bears this out, and for that we are grateful.

“It was and remains our aim to make Crumplebury a force for good – a sensitively built, ecologically sound, financially viable business which employs local people, puts rural Herefordshire on the map and helps to bring much-needed investment to the county.

“The appeal process and surrounding publicity has been incredibly draining, both emotionally and financially.

“We are grateful that with this ruling, we can now freely deliver our vision to create a culturally rich programme of events at Crumplebury, from classical music to comedy through to conferences and weddings.”