Hog-roasting business at livestock farm not an ancillary use

Permission was refused, and an enforcement notice upheld, against the mixed use of an existing livestock rearing farm for a new dwelling, agriculture, event venue and hog-roast catering business in open countryside in Berkshire. The inspector determined a material change of use regarding the businesses had taken place and the development as a whole was unsustainable in terms of its harmful social and environmental impacts.

One of the issues in the appeal related to whether a material change of use relating to the event venue and hog-roasting business had actually taken place. The appellant argued the event venue had been used for weddings and archery but these had been isolated events. In considering the evidence from local residents regarding the volume and frequency of use of the access track to the site by large vehicles the inspector determined, referring to Westminster City Council v SSCLG & Anor, 2015,the impacts of the use for events had had a deleterious effect on the living conditions of nearby neighbours and had amounted to a material change of use.

In terms of the hog-roasting business, the inspector held as a matter of fact and degree, that it could not be construed as ancillary to the existing turkey and pig breeding business at the farm. This was because the end-point of the business involved sale of meat, including meat not grown on the farm, off-site using staff not otherwise employed on the farm. In this respect, it was quite different from the case in Millington v SSETR, Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council, 1999.

In the planning balance, the inspector accepted the economic benefits of the business in creating employment but held the social and environmental concerns relating to visual impacts from outside storage, harm to the setting of a listed manor nearby and noise and disturbance to surrounding neighbours outweighed any benefits.

A partial award of costs was granted against the council for introducing new evidence at the inquiry resulting in an adjournment and wasted expense for the appellant. A similar application for costs from the council against the appellant was refused as, although the appellant had produced late evidence, the inspector held no prejudice or unnecessary expense arose from it.

Inspector: Richard Perrins; Written representations

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