On-site need proven but financial information inadequate

Plans to erect a permanent dwelling at an alpaca breeding enterprise in the Nottinghamshire green belt have been rejected due to the inability of the appellant to prove that the enterprise was viable and had been planned on a sound financial basis.

A series of temporary permissions had been granted for a mobile home following a previously successful appeal in 2008. A second appeal in 2012 granted permission for the caravan to remain until early 2014. In support of the current appeal the appellant stated that he ran an all-year-round breeding programme in order to maximise income. He asserted that it was essential to have a permanent on-site presence, whilst the council produced evidence to substantiate its claim that with a maximum of 60 alpacas and some sheep only 35 standard man hours were required. This was far short of the 275 hours required to justify a permanent worker.

In deciding on balance that there was sufficient evidence to justify a functional need for someone to live on the site, the inspector was concerned that no accounts for the two previous years had been provided. Nor had a current business plan been prepared. Although the alpaca experts asserted that it would take another six years to produce the high quality animals planned by the appellant, this did not mitigate the absence of an up-to-date prediction of future costs and income, the inspector ruled. Such information should also address different scenarios depending upon how changes in practices and sales would be addressed. On this basis she could not support the construction of a permanent dwelling which would undermine the green belt.

Inspector: Sarah Stevens; Hearing

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