Ms L Slack - Authority Member
- This consultation has completed. It ran from Friday 12th June 2020 to Friday 12th June 2020
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Details of the representation
HEATH FARM, SMALLDALE. (NP/HPK/0320/0234 SPW)
Declaration of interest: The applicant (Luke Johnson) is known to me through my brother; however, I have not discussed the application with the applicant, and I have not spoken to him for over 10 years.
I believe in this case, development of the existing building for log processing is acceptable in principle, given that is the type of business one would expect to see in the countryside, it utilises an existing building, and not only benefits local people with its product, but will also play its part in reducing emissions through kiln tried wood in the National Park.
The first reason for refusal states that log processing constitutes the primary business on site, and therefore is not an acceptable farm diversification, due to its scale. Firstly I'm not sure how scale can be accurately measured and
secondly, we have seen exceptions to this policy. For example on the planning tour last year, we visited a smallholding where a retired professional had planning permission granted for traditional buildings to be converted to holiday accommodation, and the justification made was that this conversion would provide the income to prop up an otherwise unviable small beef herd (of less than 30 cattle). The applicant in this case, is a young, new entrant to agriculture, with a flock of 388 sheep and lambs, which is made to sound insignificant, in my opinion, in the officer report, however for context, the UK wide average flock size (sheep and lambs) is 422. I feel the applicant’s proposal makes a good and sustainable use of space, for sheep in winter and spring, and using it to process logs through the rest of the year.
Furthermore, from what I can see from photos, the location of the farm is not in pristine countryside, and in fact sits in front of a large quarry. I don’t think it would have an adverse impact on the landscape, particularly when compared to other sites/ farms that are on a larger scale. However, I feel it is a shame that planning committee have not been able to view the site in order to make comment.
I understand there are some issues to resolve including amenity, however I support the principle of this application, and if it is to be refused, I hope the reasons for refusal can be worked through and an application is resubmitted.