SIX jobs could be created by the expansion of a wine, cider and beer operation at a Waytown Farm site.

This week Slapelands Farm at Slape Hill, has asked Dorset Council for a change of use for an agricultural building for the production of cider, wine and beer.

The family business says that as part of diversification, the farm has moved from a traditional dairy and beef small holding to growing higher value crops to improve its economic sustainability, split into approximately 25 acres of grazing, 4 acres of vines, 6 acres of cider trees, 1 acre of hops, 2 acres of seasonal barley and 20 acres of native woodland.

It says that 5000 vines were planted in May 2018, with a further 3000 vines due to be planted in 2022. When mature, these vines will allow the production and sale of approximately 6000 bottles of still and sparking white wine from the site.

In addition 3600 cider fruit trees were propagated and planted in a nursery in November 2018 and will be planted out at Slapelands Farm this month (December). When mature, these cider fruit trees will allow the production and sale of approximately 20-25,000 litres of cider and apple juice. Approximately an acre of hops is due to be planted at in April 2021 and together with a seasonal crop of barley planted at the farm, these hops will allow the production and sale of beer. Water for the farm will be supplied from a bore hole located on the farm, subject to necessary approvals.

The farm also has an existing flock of approximately 60 Jacob sheep, for the production of organic lamb, sold to local pubs and restaurants with plans to introduce a small herd of Dexter cattle in the future.

The business says that it is also hoping, in time, to be able to open the site for public visits, providing walks through the native woodlands, and to experience a progressive farm in action.

Comments on the change of use application can be made until Christmas Eve via the Dorset Council website.