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The Rt Hon Boris Johnson

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Dear Prime Minister

Making Rural Attractions part of the road to recovery, and getting the rural economy back on track.

I am writing to you as the operator and tenant of Cotswold Farm Park, a diversified rural business with holiday accommodation, a restaurant and shop, a visitor attraction and a working farm employing up to 100 team members over the season, and making a significant contribution to suppliers and service providers in the local economy. We are also a member of the National Farm Attractions Network, a sector organisation with over 200 operator members, and our situation will be similar to many other rural diversified businesses.

I would like to start by thanking you for your support through the 2020 season, the most significant being the help of Furlough, the access to a CBILS loan and the Business Rates holiday. This support has been vital to our sector to date, and has enabled us to operate viably and protect as many jobs as possible.

Through my work as a farmer and TV presenter, I am fortunate enough to share the enjoyment of the countryside on screen and to visitors at Cotswold Farm Park. A role I feel very privileged to have. We are very aware of the benefits we have been able to offer to society by offering safe access to green spaces, leisure and recreation within the guidelines and feel confident that this will be a much-needed resource on the nation’s road to recovery.

Keeping everyone safe

Providing safe outdoor spaces has meant rural attractions have had to limit numbers, invest in PPE/infrastructure and significantly enhance daily operational and cleaning procedures.

We are proud to confirm this investment has been worthwhile with zero traced visitor to visitor, visitor to staff or staff to visitor infections reported within our sector. We are also humbled to confirm that farm attractions had zero complaints through the We’re Good to Go kite marque.

We look forward to returning to better times. Pre-Covid, the Farm Attraction Sector welcomed 25 million visitors through our doors and paid £100 million in wages each year. We are also one of the biggest employers of 16-24 year olds, with one in three jobs being in tourism and hospitality.

It has been hard

At Cotswold Farm Park we were open for just 55% of our normal trading period in 2020. This is actually more than most farm attractions across the country who opened on average for 50% of their normal times last year.

It has been tough. Across the sector, revenues were impacted further as we restricted numbers to keep customers safe, missed the busy Easter and Christmas periods and only managed to open for 1 Bank Holiday throughout all of 2020.

This reduction in visitors has caused significant cashflow issues across our sector. Outside of the Farm Attraction sector, many, many independent diversified rural businesses are in a similar situation, from goods and services suppliers to holiday accommodation, restaurants and shops – the impact has hit us all hard, but we would like to work together to be part of the recovery.

We want to be part of the recovery

Farm and rural attractions can play an important role in the road to recovery and restoring normal life. Through 2020, we’ve already proven we can operate safely with our 100% record of safe practice.

But this needs to be a partnership between resourceful business operators and the Government. We need to support each other to rebuild the economy.

The following ongoing support will make an enormous difference to our sector. They will make reopening viable and give us the best possible chance of success

  • Extend the reduced VAT rate to March 2022 and potentially beyond, enabling our business to trade in a cash positive manner, plan for survival and invest to safeguard jobs.
  • Extend the Business Rates holiday for hospitality to the end of 2021: as with VAT, this would free up investment to repair businesses.
  • Continue with flexible furlough for the hospitality sector.

We cannot deny the government have listened so far to our sector; however, we need this support to be continued. Rural attractions like the rest of hospitality were one of the first to close in 2020 and will be one of the last to return to normal.

We’d really love to welcome you to Cotswold Farm Park or to any of our colleague’s farm attractions around the UK to show you how we are ready to get back to work and rebuild our rural economy.

Thank you in advance for reading this letter.

Adam Henson

Supported by

Nicola Henderson, Chief Executive Officer – Godstone Farm – 80 employees

Jay Wood, General Manager – Green Dragon Eco Farm, North Buckinghamshire – 15 employees

Bean Chapman, Owner – Chobham Adventure Farm – 63 employees

Lynn Kidner, Director – The Playbarn, Poringland – 12 employees

John Sinclair, Managing Director – Craigies Farm Ltd – 55 employees

Simone Uncle, Programme Manager – Kentish Town City Farm – 10 employees

John Sinclair, Managing Director – Craigies Farm Ltd – 25 employees

Grant Bell, Managing Director – East Links Family Park and Clyde Valley Family Park – 55 employees

Ray Hole, Managing Director – Ray Hole Architects – 5 employees

Simon Cox, General Manager – Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm Park – 17 employees

Andrea Stevens-Moore, Co-owner – Middle England Farm – 2 employees

Lorraine Bentley, Director – Colour Heroes Ltd – 9 employees

Gillian Kerton, Partner – Churchfields Farm – 28 employees

Richard Waring, Director – Rand Farm Park – 50 employees

Sally Jackson, Director – The Pink Pig Farm – 12 employees

Tracy Knapton, Partner – Hall Farm Park – 15 employees

Gary Charalambos – Regency Purchasing

Martin Goymour , Managing Director – Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure – 100 employees

Doug Douglas, Owner – Avon Valley Country Park Ltd – 52 employees

Edward Gwyn, Partner – Court Farm Country Park, Weston S Mare  – 15 employees

James Gammell, Managing Director – Conifox Adventure Park – 25 employees

Joseph Manning, Director – Old Macdonalds Farm & Fun park Ltd – 40 employees

Sophie Holder, Business Administrator – Regency Purchasing Group – 30 employees

Natascha Crump, CEO – Odds Farm Park Ltd – 53 employees

Janet and Alistair King, Business Partner – Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre – 10 employees

Mark Navin, General Manager – Cockfields Farm Park – 40 employees

Richard Hirst, Owner – Hirstys Family Fun Park – 20 employees

Christopher Murray, Founder – Pennywell Farm – 80 employees

Salim Sajid, Director – Advantage Buying Limited – 4 employees

Katy Cullimore, Operations and Marketing Director – Cattle Country Farm Park, Gloucestershire – 70 employees

Sandra Palmer-Snellin, Director – Farmer Palmers Farm Park – 48 employees

Julie Nicholls, Partner – Rays Farm Country Matters – 8 employees

Bryan Pass, Director – Longdown Activity Farm – 32 employees

David Gibbons, Owner – Tamar Valley Donkey Park & Sanctuary – 10 employees

Rosemary Brown, Director/Joint Family Owner – Bluebell Dairy, Derbyshire – 45 employees

Tom Robinson, Director – National Forest Adventure Farm – 70 employees

Bevis Spears, Business Owner – Foel Farm Park – 5 employees

Darren Lamb, Director – 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park – 122 employees

Kevin Dockley, Owner – Jakes Play barn, Animal farm and Fishery – 45 employees

Antony Robinson, Partner – Manor Farm Park and Woodlands –  40 employees

Chris Philpot, Director – Barleylands Farm Park – 50 employees

Christian Carver, Director – William’s Den – 20 employees

Ben Barraclough, Owner – Mini Meadows Farm – 25 employees

Vanessa Dalton, Director – Wiggleys Fun Farm – 20 employees

Robin Inglis, Owner/Partner – John Inglis and Son Briarlands Farm – 20 employees

Mrs Eunice Finney ARAgS, Managing Director – Amerton Farm Ltd – 40 employees

Judith Phillips, Partner – Kentwell Hall – 30 employees

Ian Russell MBE, Director – Wroxham Barns Ltd – 45 employees

Julie Gardner, Proprietor – Newbridge Farm Park – 7 employees

Tom Davis, Farm Park and Open Space Manager – Mudchute Park and Farm – 50 employees

Heather Hogarty, Owner – The Whitehouse Farm Centre – 40 employees

William Esse, Owner – Church Farm, Stow Bardolph – 25 employees

Allan Shuttleworth, Owner – Mabie Farm Park – 25 employees

Jill Dillon, Managing Director – Reddish Vale Farm – 35 employees

Val James, Senior Manager – Play @ Lower Drayton Farm – 50 employees

Joseph Manning, Director – Old Macdonalds Farm & Fun park LTD – 40 employees

Anita Waddell – Agility Marketing Ltd – 10 employees

Judith Phillips, Partner – Kentwell Hall – 30 employees

Tom Rollings, Director/General Manager – Fishers Farm Park – 150 employees

Rick Turner, Director of the Flock – The BIG Sheep, Vice Chair of Devon’s Top Attractions and Director of Visit Devon and Vice Chair of SW Tourism Alliance – 45 employees

Robin Rager, Owner – Talbot Fashions LLP – 5 employees

Paul Copage, Managing Director – Jumping Pillows Ltd – 7 employees

Lucinda la Velle, Company Director – Millets Farm Centre – 140 employees

Tom Pearcy, Director – York Maze – 200 employees

Anne Gow, Director – Farmer Gow’s Ltd – 7 employees

Amanda Dowson, Director/Company Secretary – Mrs Dowsons Farm Park – 30 employees

Steven Briggs, Owner/manager – Windmill Farm Park – 18 employees

Stephen Legg, Owner/Director – Putlake Adventure Farm (Legg & Cobb Ltd) – 10 employees

Peter Frost-Pennington, Director – Tyg Tickets – 4 employees

Andy Jeffery, Director – Farrington’s – 55 employees

Maria Kerr, Director – Woodside Animal Farm – 28 employees

James Holliday, Estate Director – Castle Howard Estate – 90 employees

Gill Slinger, Owner – York Maze – 15 employees

Matty Slinger & Gill Slinger, Owners – Windmill Animal Farm, Lancashire – 15 employees

Emma Collison, Owner – Alpaca Trekking Cornwall and Moor View Alpacas – 3 employees

Lyndy Birse, Farm Manager – The Ark Open Farm – 20 employees

Lydia Parker, Animal Keeper – Brockswood Animal Sanctuary – 6 employees

Oliver Arundel, Head of Marketing & Development – Attwell Farm Park – 20 employees

Becky Hildrey, Director – Bocketts Farm Park – 180 employees

Holly Robinson, Operations Manager – Cotswold Driving Experiences – 10 employees

Lee Sutton – M G SUTTON – 4 employees

Lee Scowen, General Manager – Sacrewell Farm – 35 employees

Sarah Booth, Owner – Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm – 4 employees

Hamish Campbell, Owner – R-Oil – 5 employees

John Dean, Owner – Tallyho Bed and Breakfast – 2 employees

Catherine Newman, Director – Catherine Newman Tax Services Ltd – 1 employee

Chloe Jackson, Marketing Manager- Farm Business Innovation Show

Helen Mein, Director – Lakes View Farm Herefords LTD – 3 employees

Nicola Aitkin Co-owner. – The DMD Group – 2 employees

Kelly Snipp

Jackie Wilson, Owner – Playdale Farm Park – 20 employees

Oliver Brown, Director – Bluebell Dairy – 45 employees

Edward Dee, Managing Director – West Lodge Farm Park – 45 employees

Katherine Watkins, Director – Playworks The Meadows Ltd T/A The Meadows Farm Village – 33 employees + 30 Volunteers

Richard Green, Business Partner – Crich Lane Farm, Guesthouse – 4 employees

Fiona Siddall, Owner – Easton Farm Park – 30 employees

Emma Matthews, Administration Assistant – Ian Matthews Haulage – 5 employees

Jez Wallace, Director – Stratus Home Finance Ltd – 1 employees

Larry Bush, Managing Director – Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm – 88 employees

Richard Bower, Managing Director – Play@ Lower Drayton Farm – 45 employees

Andrew Wolfe, Shareholder/Director – Willows Activity Farm – 80 employees

Martin Holden – SIP Distribution UK LTD – 2 employees

Neil & Katie Milbourn, Directors – Walby Farm Park – 30 employees

Paul Gubby – Christmas Tree Farm – 4 employees

Carol Halling

Christopher Wells, Owner & Director – Cotswold Bees Ltd – 2 employees

Alastair Moore, Owner – Alastair Moore Farm – 1 employee

Charlie Waters – Finkley Down Farm – 18 employees

Martin Dupee, Director – Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions

Sue Heseltine, Director – Hesketh Farm Park – 35 employees

Tom White, Software Support Analyst – Journey Hospitality – 67 employees

Steve Baxter, Senior Underwriter Sport & Leisure – Axa XL Insurance Company – 7400 employees

Jacqueline Franklin, Postmistress at Tysoe Post Office, Owner of Hope and Glory Flower Co & Director of ProGardens Ltd – 10 employees

Daniel Wahlstrom – W Fire Pits – 1 employee

Ed Sykes, Director – Piglets Adventure Farm – 25 employees

Richard Powell, Owner/Director – Park Hall The Countryside Experience – 29 employees

Ann Packard FRSA HonFRIAS

Anna Littler, Creative Director – Rentadinosaur (Entertainment for Farm Parks) – 2 employees + 20 SE

Rachel Buxton, Partner – Hoveton Hall Estate – 5 employees

David Taylor, Managing Director – David Taylor Design Ltd – 4 employees + 30 SE

Jonathan Crump – Jonathan Crump’s Gloucester Cheese – 4 employees

Stuart Burnell, Farm Park Manager – Over Farm – 50 employees

Ceri Roberts, Director – Fron Farm Country Holiday Park – 5 employees

Steve Gardner-Collins – The Hatton Collection – 160 employees

Neil Payne, Director – West Wight Alpacas LTD – 12 employees

Cliffird Freeman, Owner – St Mary’s Hall Hotel – 40 employees

Graham Donoghue, CEO – Sykes Holiday Cottages – 854 employees

Joe Hodgson, Owner – Falconry and Exotic Mobile Zoo – 1 employee

Funpark Supervisor – Wroxham Barns Rural Craft Centre – 11 employees

Charlotte Kingham

Simon Goaman – Seckington Dairies & Elmscott Farm Holidays – 20 employees

Victoria Faller, Project Manager – All Things Wild – 25 employees

Paul Harris, Managing Director – Blackberry Farm Park – 34 employees

Mike Butler, Partner – PKF Francis Clark – 700 employees

Mrs Pauline Hintz – Sturt Farm Stables (Riding school) – 3 employees

Nicola Fear, Financial Controller – R Keene & Sons t/a Over Farm – 40 employees

Anna OKeefe, Owner – Pyle Hall Farm – 5 employees

Daniel Bennett, Business Development Manager – Hillsgreen Marketing Ltd – 5 employees

Nick Steele, Director – Farm – 1 employee

Peter Shaw, UK Sales Manager – BERG – 95 employees

Phil Pickersgill, Managing Director – Innovative Leisure Ltd (NFAN trade member) – 4 employees

Neil Baxendale , Managing Director – GTF Event Equipment Finance – 4 employees

G A Robinson, Partner – Manor Farm Park & Woodlands – 50 employees

Owen Gleadall, Managing Director – Merlinsoft Ltd – 12 employees

Vanessa Fox, CEO – Farms for City Children – 21 employees

Mark Edwards, Managing Director – Farmer Teds Adventure Farm – 63 employees

Amanda Murray, Owner – Audley end Miniature Railway – 45 employees

Regine Wilber, Creative Director – Essence Design Ltd – 2 employees

Greg Rankin, Director – Heads of Ayr Farm Park – 90 employees

Denise Wayman, Manager/Director – Tweddle Children’s Animal Farm – 15 employees

Sam Porter, Recruiter – Charlton Recruitment – 5 employees

Marco Calzini, Managing Director – Adventure Valley – 34 employees

Owner – Go Active Falconry – 4 employees

Malcolm Lyons, Owner – Malcolm Lyons Agricultural Trading – 1 employee

Neil Archibald, Director/Owner – Savoy-Consulting-Group Ltd – 1-20 employees

Catherine Grice, Director – The Farm Burscough Ltd – 12 employees

Alex Demetriou, Managing Director – Regency Purchasing Group – 500 employees

Karen Addison, Managing Director – Karen Addison Associates ltd – 2 employees

Sholto Moger, Director & Founder – Terra Nova Land Management Limited – 7 employees

Maria Kerr, Director – Woodside Animal Farm – 28 employees

Dawn Hawking, Partner – Marshfield Farm Ice Cream – 30 employees

Kevin McIlmurray, General Manager – Willows Activity Farm – 80 employees

Dorian Mead, Chair of Trustees – Heathrow Special Needs Centre – 9 employees

Simon Stacey, Director – Go Active Falconry – The Bird of Prey Centre – 5 employees

The Reverend Catherine Cowie / Deacon in The Church of England / Assistant Curate of The Benefice of The Guitings, The Slaughters and Naunton, Gloucestershire – Minister of Religion in the Church of England

Sarah Taylor, Director – SRTaylorEducation – 2 employees

Katy Wright, Director – The Equestrian Business Awards

Jeremy Jagger, Managing Director – Battlefield 1403 Ltd – 48 employees

Sara Spencer, Director – Sara Spencer Ltd

Taya Street, Farm Park Manager – Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park

Rupert and Joanna Burr – Roves Farm Visitor centre – 31 employees

Jules Arrowsmith, Managing Director – Manorafon Farm Park – 15 employees

Sharon Gibbon

Lorraine Thorn, Founder, Owner and Sole Trader – Ugly Pig Farm Foods – 1 employee

John & Sandy Young

Harry Acland, Partner of Notgrove Farms – Notgrove Holidays – 16 employees

Nick Laister, Director – Fairytale Farm – 20 employees

CEO – Digital Visitor – 15 employees

Alison Peedell, Matriarch

Victoria Lee, Owner/Director – Little Orchard Alpacas Ltd

Dr David J Knowles, Owner – Safestate Consulting Ltd – 1 employee

Amy Armitage-Reay, Owner – The Woolley Farm – 4 employees

Emma Harrison, Managing Director – Thornton Hall Country Park – 30 employees

Nigel Burnett, General Manager – Wellington Country Park – 85 employees

Suzanne Shallis, Accounts – Firoka Hampton by Hilton and Firoka Holiday Inn Express, Oxford – 16 employees

Johnnie Arkwright, Owner – Hatton Country World – 80 employees

Jacqueline Berryman, Business Manager – Tulleys Farm – 50 employees

Jonathan Lawson, CEO – Liberation Group and Butcombe Brewery – 890 employees

Jane Wadsworth, Proprietor – Lakeland Maze Farm Park – 12 employees

Andy Mercer, Owner – A J Mercer Agricultural and Environmental Services – 3 employees

Richard Bowe – Re-generation Earth – 10 employees