ONE OF the most significant collections of agricultural machinery ever assembled is set to go on show in Astwood Bank after a new museum was given the green light.
Sandhills Farm rural vintage machinery museum and visitor centre, on Edgioake Lane, will include more than 500 items collected by applicants SE Davis & Son over the past 50 years.
The extension on the company’s existing building will include a workshop, cafe, training room and viewing platforms and visitors will be able to enjoy demonstrations, guided tours and documentary history.
Hannah Moule, speaking on behalf of SE Davis & Son, said: “The items held within the collection have shaped today’s rural and agricultural landscape with many items being rare and unique, indeed some items are likely to be the only surviving ones in the world.
“The collection has been inspected by experts across the UK, it’s some of the most significant and historic collections of machinery ever assembled.
“It has now increased to such a size and with interest across the world the applicant would like to develop the collection to a private one and establish an independent rural museum best preserving the items for the long term.”
Members of Wychavon District Council’s planning committee unanimously voted in favour of the development last Thursday (August 14), with Coun Alastair Adams saying SE Davis & Son should be congratulated on their application.
Coun Audrey Steel also said: “The future of this site can now be assured and bring with it some very welcome assets to the area.
“Keeping the valuable machinery in a better environment, an education area, giving much needed information to young and old alike and the site as a whole will all increase tourism, which is always welcome.”
Coun Jo Sandalls added: “I entirely support this application.
“I feel this will provide employment in the area not just now but in the future.
“I know it is in the greenbelt but I think the benefits of this development outweigh that.”
Paul Davis, director of the company, said it was unlikely any groundwork would start before Christmas, but was hopeful some of the development would be completed by the end of next year.
He told The Standard: “We were very pleased after a number of years of trying to get planning permission that we have now been granted it and hopefully it will allow us to go on to preserving this very important vintage machinery.
“For the last five years we’ve been trying very actively to get a planning proposal passed, but we’ve been trying for 20 years to get a building of a large enough scale to house the majority of the collection.”
He added now permission had been granted, they would start drawing up the plans for the building and hopefully get started soon.