Villagers protest at party plan for farm
A BUSINESSMAN has hit back at claims he is about to disturb the peace in a small hamlet with plans to hold corporate events and wedding receptions at his farm. Brian Batchelor, owner of Green Farm in Bendish near Whitwell has been granted a licence by Nor
A BUSINESSMAN has hit back at claims he is about to disturb the peace in a small hamlet with plans to hold corporate events and wedding receptions at his farm.
Brian Batchelor, owner of Green Farm in Bendish near Whitwell has been granted a licence by North Herts District Council to hold the events in a field at the farm.
But many residents have opposed the plans saying it will encourage drunken behaviour in such a quiet hamlet that has no pub or even a shop.
This is denied by Mr Batchelor who has lived in Bendish for eight years. He also refutes allegations that he has made an illegal entrance into the field where he will hold the events.
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One campaigner, Sandy Dallimore claims local people were ignored when the council granted the licence.
"This is a conservation area and everyone is 100 per cent against this business venture by Mr Batchelor," said Mrs Dallimore.
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"We are now worried about the noise when these events are on and fear drunken people will be wandering around the village."
But Mr Batchelor, 59, who has over 35 years experience of organising corporate events, said the allegations were nonsense.
"It is all pure speculation. But to say there will be drunken people wandering around here is rubbish," he said.
"Yes, some people are upset and obviously some have got prejudices against me. But I have done nothing wrong. I'm a businessman and I am not about to break any laws or disturb anyone's peace.
"People have their own opinions about what I am doing but nobody has come knocking on my door complaining. The business will not change anyone's lives and I can promise residents that events will be secure and there will be no drunkenness."
Mr Batchelor says he has spent a great deal of time and money converting the paddock into a conservation garden where events will be held.
"Mature trees have been planted in the field for what will be used for exclusive and private events. We have created a wonderful garden for people to enjoy sit down banquets in tranquil surroundings," added Mr Batchelor.
"Bendish once had three pubs, a shop and a church. They have gone and no additional homes have been built here.
"I have spent a great deal of time restoring my 15th century property and creating a garden on a small piece of land.
"I have followed the rules and regulations and a lot of what is being said about what I am doing is wrong and misguided.
"I am the licence holder and I am responsible for what goes on here. Events will have security and all vehicles will be parked on the farm, not in the lanes.
"Claims that I have made an illegal entrance to the field are also wrong. I made the gap in the hedge so I could get trailers through with the mature trees and now I have applied to put a gate there so it can be used as an emergency exit.
"I am not creating another Knebworth here so I don't know what all the fuss is about.