A new indoor play area, cafe and farm shop could be built in Brent Knoll next to the A38 under new plans unveiled this week.

A new planning application has been submitted to Somerset Council for the new facilities on land at Upper Battleborough Farm next to Bristol Road in Brent Knoll.

The applicant, called Jolly Jumpers Play Zone, is seeking Full Planning Permission to construct “a building to house an indoor play area, a cafe and a farm shop with associated parking and an outdoor play area.”

In its planning statement, the applicant states that they “currently operate the very popular Jolly Jumpers Play Zone, an indoor soft play area for children aged up to 11 years, from a commercial building near Bridgwater, but are seeking to expand the offering to help support the business during all seasons.”

“The current site, near J24 of the M5 motorway, attracts customers from as far as Yeovil, Exeter, Minehead and Bristol as well as tourists visiting the area but unfortunately it does not offer potential for expansion of activities.”

“After an extensive 2 year search of properties to both rent and purchase within the Sedgemoor district, the Applicant purchased the Site in 2022 and is developing rare breeds of cattle and pigs as part of the farming enterprise, as well as keeping alpacas.”

“The current Jolly Jumpers business is entirely indoors. Not only was this heavily affected during the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, but it also suffers from seasonal fluctuations, being busier during wet weather but not during warmer, dryer weather conditions, although the staffing levels need to remain the same.”

“The only outside space at the current site is the car park and all of this is needed at peak times, therefore not allowing for any expansion or outdoor activities. Unfortunately, the business must either relocate and expand to be able to continue economically, or face closure entirely.”

It adds: “The proposed Site at Upper Battleborough Farm therefore offers the opportunity for the Applicant to expand the offering to include the current indoor play zone but also add a cafe, farm shop and petting farm to attract more customers year round, improving the overall sustainability of the business.”

“Due to the height of the play equipment, the current agricultural buildings on site are not suitable for reuse for this purpose. They will, however, be used for housing livestock as part of the new petting farm. Therefore, a new building is proposed to the south of the holding, close to the A38 Bristol Road.”

“The building will be agricultural in appearance, with the location being carefully chosen to sit below the existing copse to assist with screening and any landscape impact.”

“The new building will be multi purpose, housing the indoor play area with space for children’s parties, a café and farm shop. It will also lead out to the outdoor play area and petting farm.”

“The Applicant is very keen to provide activities for all, with the outdoor play area being designed to house a fort that is wheelchair accessible. Indeed, all of the paths around the Site are designed to be accessible and inclusive to all, being constructed to a minimum gradient of 1:20 and a surfaced with stabilisation grids.”

Changes to the road access onto the A38 are planned with a filter lane. Space for at least 150 parking spaces is also proposed.

The application has reference number 07/23/00025 and feedback is being welcomed by Somerset Council until December 12th, 2023.

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