Pie-makers plan to relocate to key Melton town centre site

Plans have been unveiled to convert a disused former college building in Melton town centre into a business venue for making and selling pies and running courses to teach pie-making skills.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 4:54 pm
Vacant college building on King Street in Melton EMN-210329-133052001
Vacant college building on King Street in Melton EMN-210329-133052001

Brocklebys, which currently operates a popular bakery and farm shop at Asfordby Hill, want to relocate their enterprise to the old Brooksby Melton College annexe, in King Street.

The key site, which is owned by Melton Mowbray Town Estate, has been vacant for several years and a number of proposed alternative uses for it have fallen through, including plans announced in 2015 to transform it into 22 new apartments.

The new application has been made by Brocklebys’ proprietor, Ian Jalland, whose family can trace their local farming roots back 500 years, and who is confident the move would help consolidate Melton’s reputation as the rural capital of food.

Brockleby's Ian Jalland and Emma Gibbons show off some of their award-winning pies at a recent food festival EMN-210329-132520001

A report which has been prepared for the planning application to Melton Borough Council states: “The proposed change of use will permit Brocklebys to re-locate from Asfordby to a prime Melton town centre location.

“The move to Melton town centre will help their continued growth as a major player in the Melton and Leicestershire-based food industry, increase the number of employees and allow the expansion of their training and tourism section to the benefit of both the company and to Melton town.”

The Brocklebys brand was established in 2003, initially trading as a farm shop.

Staff began making pies and production has increased to making up to 10,000 every week, with the company scooping a number of prestigious awards along the way.

The Brooksby Melton College site in King Street, Melton, which has been vacant for several years EMN-210329-133030001

Traditional Melton Mowbray pork pies would be made at the new bakery, if approval is granted by the planners, with the company claiming to be the only producer of a ‘free range’ version of the world-renowned pie.

There are no plans to change the external look of the main building, which is on the corner of King Street and Chapel Street.

The ground floor would be used for pie manufacturing, as office space, a small retail area and for pie-making courses.

The first floor of the building, according to the change of use application will be for office space and the storing of packaging materials.

Three ‘temporary’ classroom buildings to the north of the site will not be used by Brocklebys and could be demolished eventually by the owners.

An existing car park for 22 vehicles will be used to park the company’s vans, for staff and visitors to the site.

The applicants say there will be no environmental or noise pollution at the site and that the change of use for the former college annexe would not interfere with views of the only nearby listed building, the 19th century United Reform Church.

Brocklebys expect the number of people who will attend their pie-making courses will rise from 140 a week to 340 because of the extra space.

Its ‘Ultimate Pie Making Experience’ won the Leicestershire Promotions Top Tourist Activity award last year.

The business, which visited 2,500 food events and shows every year before the pandemic, uses beef from its own farm cattle for its steaks pies and local produce is used in all of its fillings.

The planning application report adds: “Melton Mowbray is the Rural Capital of Food and Brocklebys, already an important contributor to this, will be able to generate even more support to Melton’s status.

“The whole of Melton Borough is a Food Enterprise Zone and subject to the ‘Food and Farming’ local development order.

“Brocklebys brings the two major factors of these together in that the applicants’ family farm and other local farms produce products used by the business within the pie-making enterprise.

“This proposed relocation to a Melton town centre location will encourage tourism, provide employment, training and hopefully apprentice placements.”