Alpaca farm closed down to Covid-19 could reopen as new plan emerges

Some cute alpacas
-Credit: (Image: Edwin Remsberg)

An alpaca farm and cafe could return to the Leicestershire countryside if plans are backed by officials. The pandemic previously brought the furry friends’ stay to an end, but developers hope the proposals will boost the economy.

The plan would see a cafe and other business units erected on-site at Old Globe Yard in Snarestone’s Main Street, near Measham. These would then support the reopening of an alpaca farm which, alongside a former tea room, was forced to close on-site in 2022 due to the previous owners’ ill health after contracting Covid-19.

The units would sit around Evergreen Lodge Nursery and Preschool which took over the former tea room, with all the units helping support the reopening of the farm. Developers hope the animals could be back on site in the coming months in a move they say will bring social and economic benefits to the area.

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The plan, which is before North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC), would see an existing paddock on land at Old Globe Yard made into the new viewing area for the alpacas. Four new timber-framed business units would then be erected east of the nursery which is housed inside the existing main building on site.

The current car park would also see an increase to cope with the new businesses, with 20 new spaces provided - an increase on the existing 30 currently there. Access to the farm, nursery and units would be maintained off Main Street.

View of Evergreen Lodge Nursery and Preschool in Snarestone's Main Street
The site currently houses Evergreen Lodge Nursery and Preschool -Credit:Google

One of the units would become the site’s new cafe, with a second slated for avian product specialist Avi Nature UK who will operate the alpaca farm. The other two unoccupied units would then be taken over by “rural-related retail businesses” according to planning documents.

Agents for the developer, David Granger Architectural Design Ltd, said the new units would be “well related” to the existing main building and support job creation in both the construction and later operational phases. A number of full-time jobs would be created, but exact numbers are unclear.

The plans also include retrospective changes to the nursery as well as a bus sited on land next to it. The disused vehicle, known as the ‘Bus of Imagination, is used to help and enhance children’s physical development. According to agents, all phases of the plan will help support the area’s growth and not hinder it.

They said: “The proposed development [...] would not undermine the physical and perceived separation and open undeveloped character between nearby settlements. There would also be social benefits in terms of users of the new facilities supporting the existing services in Snarestone and the surrounding area.”

If approved, the applicants say the alpaca farm could reopen later this year. A decision on the plan will be made by NWLDC at a later date.

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