Sunday 14 July 2024
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Plans for a home on a Nottinghamshire alpaca farm

Plans to build a permanent home for an agricultural worker at an Nottinghamshire alpaca farm are likely to be turned down over greenbelt concerns.

The farm, to the west of Felley Alpacas on Felley Mill Lane South, Underwood, is currently used to house 71 animals across 23 acres of countryside.

This includes sheep, alpacas and llamas, with some horses, chickens and ducks also kept on the land.

And plans were submitted last year to build a home so an agricultural worker can live permanently on-site.

However, Ashfield District Council’s planning committee is poised to turn down the plans amid council officers’ concerns about the impact on the greenbelt.

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The plans are asking for a one-and-a-half-storey home, with a kitchen, dining room, lounge and utility room on the ground floor.

There would also be two bedrooms and a bathroom within the roof of the building.

It would be accessed directly from Felley Mill Lane South, via an existing access point, and would require no changes to the existing road network.

However, 29 objections were raised to the plans on the council’s planning portal.

These included concerns about the impact on the countryside, the home being at the top of a hill and the area becoming “built-up”.

Other concerns included there not being a need for the home and questions over a “lack of grazing space on-site” for the animals without an expansion.

Similar concerns have been raised by council planning officers.

They are recommending councillors should turn down the plans over concerns the home would be “harmful” to the greenbelt.

The development is due before the authority’s planning committee on Wednesday (December 14).

In documents, the council said: “It is considered that the proposal would represent an inappropriate form of development within the greenbelt.”

Applicant Ms D Roe submitted business accounts and statements to “demonstrate the essential need to live on-site permanently”.

If she could prove the home is needed to improve the business, it may give the plans more weight when attempting to build on the greenbelt.

However, the authority says this documentation currently indicates the plans are “premature”.

It says the “enterprise fails to provide a reasonable return on labour and therefore is considered not to be financially viable”.

This, the council adds, is because the current “predominant income” for the business is alpaca trekking rather than breeding.

Alpaca trekking is when the public can visit the farm to learn about the animal.

The authority says this business model “would not necessarily require someone to live on-site permanently”.

However, the council report adds temporary permission could be granted for a mobile home to be placed on-site for a period of time over the next year.

This could allow the applicant to “expand and operate their business” in the way they plan and gather evidence to show the new home is viable.

A separate planning application could then be submitted in the future alongside a full year of accounts.

In planning documents, the applicant added: “Animal husbandry responsibilities impose a round-the-clock requirement.

“[This is] to ensure an appropriate level of animal welfare and to secure animal and farm equipment security from farm management and crime prevention points of view.

“Being able to attend to difficulties promptly by being within sight and sound of all livestock will mean that a distressed animal can be assisted immediately.”

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