Farm tents harm openness of green belt land

The erection of four tents approximately nine metres long and five metres wide at a small scale agricultural enterprise in the Essex green belt would be inappropriate and undermine the openness of the area, an inspector also expressing doubts about the reliability of a submitted business plan.

The tents would be used for the farrowing and weaning of piglets until slaughter. They would be laid with straw and there was potential for effluent to drain into ditches and a stream, the inspector concluded, given that the underlying soil was clay. There was a significant risk that watercourses would become polluted and clay soils were inherently unsuited to pig breeding and could also give rise to health and welfare issues.

Nor was it certain that the appellant would achieve the predicted £200 per pig, and other costs including slaughtering did not appear to be adequately justified. Nor was it clear that the value of free range eggs would be achieved. In short, the inspector decided that the enterprise had not been planned on a sound financial basis, with the business plan lacking an appropriate thoroughness and coherent thinking. These points were all highlighted by a previous inspector in respect of an enforcement appeal and the appellant had had the opportunity to address them. The harm to the green belt including the need to retain attractive landscapes outweighed the limited functional need for the development.

Inspector: J Flack; Hearing

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