A POPULAR farm shop with three locations in Newport has announced it is closing down, claiming the council "aren't on our side".

Castle Farm Shop, which has locations at the farm in Bishton, as well as the Kingsway Centre and Newport Market, posted a statement on Facebook on Thursday announcing the stores would be closing on December 23 and 24.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of our shops - the farm, Kingsway, and Newport Market," the statement read.

"Kingsway may remain open in between Christmas and New Year and into January for stock reduction"

The business is owned by Sian Rickard, 36, and her husband Kevin, who first opened a shop at their farm in Bishton three and a half years ago - and later branched out to the Kingsway and Newport Market.

South Wales Argus: L-R: Castle Farm Shop owner Sian Rickard, manager Jen Bradford and Lucy Curtis at the new store in the Kingsway Centre in Newport.L-R: Castle Farm Shop owner Sian Rickard, manager Jen Bradford and Lucy Curtis at the new store in the Kingsway Centre in Newport. (Image: Newsquest)

However, the original shop was opened without planning permission - and the business has been refused planning permission to keep it.

The statement continued: "Unfortunately Newport City Council aren't on our side to support our shops and therefore we are unable to obtain the correct planning for our main shop at the Farm, Bishton.

"Without this shop we will really struggle to run our other two shops therefore we feel it's the best decision moving forward".

When asked for comment, a council spokesperson said the authority "has received complaints from local residents about operations on the farm dating back to April 2020".

"As this was at the height of the pandemic, it was decided to take no action at that time due to the circumstances and regulatory dispensations," they said.

South Wales Argus:

The spokesperson added, while planning permission was required for the farm shop and vending machine, "no such planning application has been submitted despite repeated requests from the authority".

"Residents living nearby have complained about issues such as increased traffic and floodlighting," they said.

"They believe the council should be taking more action to deal with it.

The statement concluded: "To try and resolve the situation, the council has offered to meet with residents as well as the applicant and their planning agents to try and find a way forward.

"It is not clear why the situation at the Bishton site is having an impact on the two outlets in the city centre."

South Wales Argus:

Responding to the city council's comments, Mrs Rickard said: “We cannot carry on running the two shops in Newport City Centre as they will no longer be viable without the farm shop at Bishton and there is no storage or back entrances at the shops in the city centre, so we take all deliveries at the farm and take stock into them daily."

The business' statement on Facebook continued that all Christmas orders would be fulfilled - and it was still open for more orders.

"Our journey over the last three and a half years was never planned," it said. "Due to covid we (saw) a gap that needed filling and boy, have we done just that.

"We are so, so proud of what we have done and how far we have come in such a short space of time. Some days we really aren't sure how we have managed to do so much."

Concluding, it said: "We thank each and everyone that has had any involvement in our journey.

"'The end of the beginning'."