Stoke Fruit Farm and sunflower fields on Hayling Island applies for licence for bar during the summer

A fruit farm and sunflower fields are ready to open a ‘relaxed’ bar following a premises licence application.

By Toby Paine
Thursday, 7th July 2022, 4:55 am

Stoke Farm on Hayling Island wishes to serve alcoholic drinks to customers who visit the sunflower fields this summer.

The fourth-generation family-run business has over 350 acres - providing sunflower picking, a farm shop, and wide range of crops and livestock.

Speaking to Havant Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee, the owner Sam Wilson said: ‘Last year we had alcohol for sale on the site, we did this through the temporary event notice.

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Sam Wilson with his wife Annabel in 2019 Picture: Sarah Standing (050819-2633)

‘With sunflowers, they don’t come when you want them to and the weather has been awful.

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‘We had three days when we couldn’t open, the days we had licences for, because the rain came.

‘We thought we would alleviate that problem by licensing the field so that people can come primarily to pick sunflowers but also relax and have a drink or refreshment from our snack shack that we have in the field.

‘We’ve also had enquiries from a number of organisations that would like to come and use the field like the National Farmers Union (NFU).

‘We want to run the fields as a picking experience and to be able to offer refreshments as well.

‘The sunflower season runs from the second week of July until the end of August and that’s the time we would like to use the field.

‘This year they’re running late because we haven't had enough sun so we’re not likely to open until the first week of August and then that might push it into September.

‘The idea of this licence is to provide alcohol to people who visit the sunflower fields in a relatively low-level relaxed atmosphere.’

The application received one representation from the public, which raised fears over public nuisance, safety and prevention of crime and disorder.

The decision to grant the licence will be made by July 12.

The sunflower fields have been an attraction on Hayling for almost a decade, attracting people who want to pick their own bright yellow flowers – and many who are looking for pictures that look good on social media.