Sunday, 18 January 2015

Alresford Christmas Bauble 2014 – Exclusive at Long Barn

On the back of last year’s highly successful sales, Long Barn in Alresford have once again created an exclusive ‘ Alresford Christmas bauble’ . Entitled ‘Christmas on Broad Street’ the bauble was commissioned by Long Barn after a water colour by local artist Jen Boardman, matching last year’s sell out ‘ East Street at Christmas’.

The baubles are priced at £9.99 which includes a smart gift box and 50p from each sale goes to the Alresford Pigs Charity.

Flower Power at Long Barn

Long Barn in Alresford has recruited former local florist Natasha Thomas to manage a new 'Floral Zone' in their home and garden store.

A champagne evening was held on October 1st for more than forty guests including local businesses and Long Barn customers. All enjoyed a sneak preview of the new range of flowers, bulbs, indoor plants, fragrances and gifts.

Director Jane Marsden said: "We can’t think of a better time to welcome Natasha on board. She is an extremely talented florist and with Christmas fast approaching, this new floral offer perfectly complements our range of other gifts for Christmas!"

Long Barn Lavender Scales New Heights – October 2014

Long Barn Lavender’s founder Richard Norris scaled new heights when he teamed up with the green roofing specialist Wild About Roofs to plant the first ever ‘living’ lavender roof in London.

Richard and the Wild About Roofs team worked in blustery blue sky conditions - on the six floor Mayfair roof, to plant 225 lavender plants into a carefully blended substrate.

A ‘green’ or ‘living roof’ is partially or completely planted into a waterproofing membrane. Typically sedum or wildflowers are used but in Richard’s opinion, ‘Lavender is perfectly suited to open, exposed conditions such as those found on the roof of a hotel or office for example. Lavender requires sharp drainage and of course green roofing systems are designed to remove water quickly and efficiently. All in all, this environment mimics lavender’s natural habitat perfectly’.

Wild About Roof’s Kevin Nelson adds ‘ Clients have engaged with the idea really well, seeing many benefits. The installation of this lavender roof just off Berkeley Square in London was for a landlord who has bee hives on the roof and feels a real responsibility to encourage wildlife habitats in the City’.

For more about Wild About Roofs visit:

Wessex Sculptors Exhibition in the Lavender Fields – July 2014

Long Barn hosted the annual exhibition of outdoor sculptures by the WESSEX SCULPTORS on Sunday 20th July.

More than 40 amateur sculptors exhibited their pieces on the Long Barn terraces and in the lavender field behind the barn. Hundreds of visitors enjoyed the warm sunshine, and wandered through the lavender fields to view the various sculptures on display, several of which were also sold on the day. Jane Marsden of Long Barn said: ‘We were delighted to support this event at such a lovely time of year.

The exhibition looked so impressive in our lavender, which was in full bloom.’

Long Barn was proud to supply the lavender for the London 2012 Olympic Winners' bouquets.

Long Barn were approached by Landgard (who were acting on behalf of Jane Packer Florists to source the components of the bouquets, bringing together the components and then assembling the bouquets at various locations and delivering them to the Olympic venues) to supply 5000 bunches of lavender, one to be used in each of the bouquets, along with roses, mint, wheat and rosemary. The finished bouquet combined flowers that are traditionally associated with Great Britain, and in the case of lavender, there is a strong historical link with London as in Victorian times, lavender was grown commercially around the capital city. Long Barn were delighted to take on this challenge and taking into consideration the wet weather, it really was an Olympic challenge! However, 300,000 lavender sprigs were successfully harvested and assembled to ensure the tight deadline was met.

Long Barn Cafe opens to rave reviews!

Delicious local, fresh and seasonal produce are always on the menu and make the Long Barn cafe the perfect destination for breakfast, morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea. The view from the terrace overlooking the lavender fields and the English countryside is delightful whatever the weather - or you can settle down inside and enjoy the welcoming and relaxed ambience.

“The Best Flat White outside of London” is regularly heard amongst the Winchester whispering classes – and Long Barn’s choice of New Zealand brand ‘Allpress Coffee’ combined with professional service means this has to be one of the best coffee shops in the South.

Opening Times:
Monday to Saturday 9.00am - 5.00pm (last orders 4.30pm)
Sunday and Bank Holidays 10.00am - 4.30pm (last orders 4.00pm)
Call 01962 738684 for further details.

The hard work has paid off for pioneering Long Barn!

In 2011 Long Barn were left reeling by Winchester City Council’s refusal to grant permission for a development of their business on the Old Sheep Fair in Alresford. It was a devastating blow for this popular business, which had the support of hundreds of local residents.

All is different today as lavender business Long Barn is celebrating the decision by the City Council to grant planning permission to develop its retail plant nursery, the serving of refreshments and a programme of country craft workshops.

Founder Richard Norris explains: “We never doubted for one minute that planning law supported our application and we began the Appeal process immediately after our original application was refused. Soon after the refusal we resubmitted our application and it is this that has now been granted on delegated powers.vAt every step we have taken excellent advice from our planning consultants Turley Associates and it is a shame that it has taken so long for the council to acknowledge the validity of our case. It has been an incredibly frustrating and costly process, with damaging and unnecessary delays.”

Director Jane Marsden adds: “A big factor in our favour was the unprecedented level of support from local residents and other businesses. More than 1600 people signed our petition and literally hundreds wrote to the council in support including the South Downs Committee. People were flabbergasted as to why we should not be granted permission to develop what is a unique and highly valued business. We would like to thank them all, as well as our MP Steve Brine for his firm support over the last 2 years. A special mention should go to the Economic Prosperity team at Winchester City Council, which was consistent in its encouragement and is a very good asset to the planning process. We desperately need a speedier and more collaborative decision making process for business planning decisions.”

MP Steve Brine echoed these sentiments : “This has been torturous for Long Barn. No-one is objecting to due and proper process being followed but we should always be minded that businesses can go over the edge if there are extended delays when they seek help from the local council, with all the implications that would have for the local economy and the people they employ. The city council have worked hard in recent months to sharpen up the way it supports rural businesses looking to set-up and expand and that is very welcome at any time but especially right now.”

Cllr Rob Humby, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Enforcement at Winchester City Council commented: "We want to encourage enterprising businesses like Long Barn, and help them to succeed. It is thanks to pioneering businesses such as this that we can gather evidence to make changes to our planning systems for the good of our local economy.”

The new planning permission will make a tremendous difference to the potential of Long Barn, whose sustainable business has a unique combination of garden, home and beauty products alongside its plant nursery and lavender growing business. Richard concludes: “We are extremely excited about fulfilling our vision for the business and making our site an even more attractive destination for both local residents and visitors to the area.”