PLANS have been approved to expand a farm’s childcare service.

The plans,which were submitted to Barrow Borough Council on June 24, will see the change of use of a building at Linmoor Far Old Park, Ireleth, Askam, from a dwelling to a children’s nursery for preschool age children.

The council reached its decision on September 2.

Currently the farm is operated as a working farm, whose main business is breeding sheep and buying and selling store cattle, according to planning documents.

However, in documents the applicant explained that this form of farming has become less viable and as a result the farm’s owners have looked for ways to diversify, with the nursery working well alongside the farming enterprise.

In its current form the nursery employs six full time members of staff and one part time and cares for 20 children aged from eight months to four years old.

According to planning documents: “The existing childcare business has proved to be very popular, providing childcare for children from rural, quite often, farming families, as well as urban located families who like the rural environment.”

Now that plans are approved the applicants will increase their full time staff to ten, part time staff to two and will also employ relief staff 'when needed'.

The number of children will increase to a maximum of 30 per day.

The design statement added: "The proposed nursery is situated within the farm curtilage and does not over-bear any neighbouring property."

In addition plans show an extension to the current car park and changes will open up a current building, with the removal of internal walls to create a larger play area and sleeping and changing zones.

Outside there are plans to plant trees and a section for a children’s play area will also be added.

Children cared for at the existing nursery already have access to green spaces and enjoy play and learning areas, including an animal petting area with sheep, chickens, ducks and more.