DC Casebook: Appeal cases - Worm farm fails to justify on-site living

An inspector has expressed doubt as to whether two appellants were committed to implementing a planning permission authorising a worm farm in Lincolnshire and upheld an enforcement notice requiring the removal of a timber cabin and two caravans from the land.

The council had granted planning permission for a worm farm in 2003. The appellants explained that temperature and humidity required regular monitoring and adjustment and asserted that these tasks were better performed manually than through automatic systems. They estimated that the farm would produce revenue of some £21,000 in the first year, rising in subsequent years.

The inspector acknowledged that a personal presence would act as a deterrent to both predatory animals and vandals. However, he decided that a small rest room would suffice because the operator would need to be awake during the night. On that basis, he decided that there was no functional need for a caravan to be sited on the land.

He also detected a number of errors in the projected profit figures, finding that the claimed income was likely to lead to a loss of £33,000 once operating and capital costs were factored in. Many of the assumptions behind the projections were also unsubstantiated, he decided. He expressed grave doubts as to whether the appellants had any intention of implementing the permission for the worm farm development and concluded that there was no need for the cabin and caravans.

DCS Number 100-051-336

Inspector Karl Moxon; Written representations.

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