DC Casebook: Agricultural Development - Alpaca farmer refused home in green belt

The owner of an alpaca breeding enterprise in the green belt around Bath has been refused temporary permission for a mobile home on the grounds that she already owns a dwelling in the area.

The appellant submitted an agricultural appraisal and the council obtained an independent assessment of its conclusions. It accepted the need for a full-time worker on the land, given the value of the animals and the call for good security to prevent theft. It also concluded that the enterprise had been planned on a sound financial basis. The application was recommended for approval by officers.

The inspector agreed that the functional and financial tests had been met but felt that this was not the end of the matter. PPS7 advises that an assessment must also be made of the availability and suitability of alternative accommodation, he remarked. In this regard, he noted that the appellant owned a house 300m from the appeal site.

Although this was let on a short-term basis, he considered that the property was capable of providing adequate accommodation. Moreover, he added, it was attached to land that was suitable for rearing alpacas and stables could be converted to storage and other uses that would also be of benefit to the breeding enterprise.

In this situation, he concluded that the appellant had not proven that this property was unavailable or unsuitable. Granting temporary consent under such circumstances for a mobile home would be inappropriate because it would undermine the openness of the area, he held.

DCS Number 100-064-546

Inspector Roger Pritchard; Hearing

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