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Jobs to be created as family farm attraction announces £500,000 expansion

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A multi-award-winning family farm attraction in Staffordshire has been given the green light to build a £500,000 expansion, which is set to create a range of permanent and seasonal jobs.

PLAY@ Lower Drayton Farm, based just outside Penkridge, has been given the go-ahead for a new phase of development to create a three-storey extension to its existing play barn.

The project will see the attraction, which already employs 67 people, create up to four new management roles and 10 seasonal events staff positions.

The development which will make use of an existing adjacent agricultural building will include a larger café area alongside additional space to host events.

There will also be extra room for education – to tap into the popularity of school visits and the farm’s Home Education sessions.

The expansion will also see the addition of new quiet spaces, sensory play areas and a changing places toilet facility to support visitors with additional needs.

The development is expected to see visitor numbers increase. Last year more than 125,000 people passed through its doors.

Farmers Ray and Richard Bower headed to the South Staffordshire Council Community Hub last week to sign a UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) agreement to give the green light to the ambitious expansion plans.

Richard Bower said: “Since PLAY@ opened we’ve seen significant growth in visitor numbers and also in the number and variety of events we run through the year – including our new Jingle Ville festive adventure, which premiered in 2023.

“We’ve realised that we already need more indoor space as we continue to grow, so the three-storey expansion is coming at the perfect time.

“Inclusivity is particularly important to us, and while PLAY@ is, by design, accessible we know there are things we can do to help visitors with additional needs enjoy their day even more – and the new quiet spaces, sensory areas and changing places toilet facilities are designed to do just that.

“This expansion will increase visitor capacity and, in turn, create new job opportunities for the local area as we continue to grow.”

Work has now commenced on the new space with the project expected to be completed in several phases. Visitors will get first access to the new areas at Christmas 2024.

Nigel Pye

Experienced journalist with a 30-year career in the newspaper and PR industry and a proven record for breaking stories for the national and international press. Nigel is the Editor of Daily Focus and Head of Creative at i-creation. Other work includes scriptwriting, magazine and video production, crisis communications and TV and radio broadcasts.

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