A HEREFORDSHIRE shop's plan to expand and open a new café has been backed by one local who says it's vital for the business's viability.

Hopes of Longtown, a shop in the Golden Valley village, opened in 2001 and is currently made up of a single-storey village shop, post office, farm shop and a number of external outbuildings.

But as part of a new plan, it has applied to Herefordshire Council for planning permission to extend the business using 11 shipping container units.


Those containers will house a kitchen/café space, storage areas and a membership co-share workspace, a design and access statement submitted with plans to the council said.

Owen Hicks Architecture, working for Hopes of Longtown, said that the business was already feeling the pressure from a growing local population.

Consultants said a push for a "substantial increase in housing and other planned developments", as per the Longtown Neighbourhood Development plan, would "undoubtedly" add to the need for the expansion of essential local services.

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Now, David Steele of nearby Craswall, said the village shop provides an essential service for those living in Longtown and surrounding villages.

Supporting the application, he told planners the shop needs to expand in order to remain viable and the proposal will provide a future for the village.

"The design is sympathetic to its surroundings and any increased traffic will be minimal," he said, adding a successful local hub is critical to persuade people to move to the area.


"Seasonal visitors are key to the success of the area and the store will be able to enhance what they offer to those visitors.

"I am particularly pleased to see the proposal for solar panels."

Consultants said Hopes of Longtown, founded more than 20 years ago by Christine Hope, was already feeling more pressure.

If planners give the scheme the green light, the existing stone and corrugated iron outbuildings would be replaced with 11 prefabricated shipping container units measuring around 2.5 metres by six metres each.

They would house a kitchen, café, office and storage spaces related to the existing shop and post office, with a timber-framed outdoor seating café area

The majority of the proposed shipping container units would occupy the same footprint as the existing outbuildings, it said.


They added: "Hopes was born out of wanting to make a difference to a rural community and opportunity this is a development to the next level. Award-winning Hopes of Longtown has a reputation for championing local producers of all sizes.

"In everything Hopes of Longtown does, a key consideration is continued development of the community and reducing its impact on the environment."

Comments on application 223847 can be made until January 15.