Smashing pumpkin shop in Coleraine facing a turn up

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A POPULAR farm shop - famous for having Ireland’s biggest pumpkin every Halloween - is facing a bit of a turn up.

Scott’s Farm Shop, has people flocking to it at the Loughanhill Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Coleraine but now planners are currently of the opinion it should not be allowed to take root where it stands.

However, a partner in the firm says they intend to dig in to fight the refusal recommendation.

The shop has built up a loyal core of customers in recent years but planning officials say that type of business on the fringes of Coleraine detracts from efforts to build up the under-pressure town centre.

And they say if the shop was to get the green light it would then be eating into land which has been zoned to attract industry to Coleraine.

A report prepared by planners which is set to be brought to a meeting of Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council in Coleraine this Wednesday is currently recommending refusal of full planning permission for the ‘retention of farm shop selling various farm produce’.

Sydney B Scott & Sons fruit and vegetable wholesalers own the farm shop and David Scott said: “We are going to fight it because they are going down the route that it is an industrial estate but our argument is what about other businesses which are retailing in similar circumstances?

“If they are going to make us leave then what about other businesses? We didn’t apply for planning permission because we didn’t think we had to as the shop is in a portable structure.”

He reassured customers that if planning permission is refused they will move somewhere else and said: “We definitely will not be closing it.

“It is too big a thing for us to close now.

“Nowadays I don’t think a town centre is the place for our type of a shop. Our farm shop is the nearest thing in Northern Ireland to the type of farm shops you see in England.

“Ideally we would love our shop to be in a farm yard with a coffee type shop/bistro with it. That would be our aim eventually. We have not ruled out opening a farm shop at Aghadowey.

“But I think people would be disappointed if it had to close in Coleraine,” added Mr Scott.

Scott’s Farm Shop is famous for bringing in a monster pumpkin as a publicity stunt to promote their pumpkin sales at Halloween.

It is so big one man could not lift it, nor indeed several men, and in fact a forklift is needed.

They keep the exact weight of the whopper under wraps and hold a ‘guess the weight’ competition to raise money for charity.

Mr Scott said in the past: “We believe it is the biggest pumpkin in Ireland.”

The pumpkin attracts huge interest and several customers have their photos taken with it.