Couple’s plan for stockman home to tend pedigree cattle dismissed by East Cambs planners who questioned viability of business
- Credit: Archant
They claimed it was “a very sustainable and profitable business” destined for expansion but when Robert and Sarah Wright wanted to build a dormer bungalow in the countryside for a key worker planners claimed otherwise.
“Usually detailed information such as accounts over a number of years would have been provided (confidentially) to substantiate and demonstrate viability,” says a report by East Cambs Council planning department.
“In this application they are conspicuous by their absence”.
In a seven page report the Wrights had tried to persuade planners that the bungalow was needed for a stockman for their expanding herd of ‘Meadowfield Limousin’ pedigree cattle.
The plot they had in mind was on land for Green End, Stretham, an area described by planners as “located in the countryside, well outside the development boundary” of the village.
The Wrights said they bought the land in 2004 and the herd started with four pedigree cows.
Another pedigree was soon added and three heffers retained for breeding – and in 2014 the farm produced the first calves using artificial insemination. They’ve also reared a prize bull ‘Meadowfieild Jez’ who won prizes at both the Norfolk and Suffolk Shows.
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The Wrights said the stock now had 34 head and there was a need for a house on site for workers to be available 24/7 in case of emergencies and to protect it from theft or injuries by intruders.
They told East Cambs Council of other options including trying to find a small holding locally with a house attached but those that were available were either too expensive or too distant.
But planning officer Tom O’Connor said the application failed the tests of building in the countryside and there was no evidence the site in its present form could sustain 34 head of cattle.
No evidence had been presented to show “there is a viable agricultural business operating either solely from this site or as part of a larger enterprise” he said and any form of housing there would be “an incongruous built element”.
It would, he said, be an “incursion of development into open countryside”, be “visually intrusive” and did not meet the case for essential need.
One neighbour told the council that the application “seems to be a way of opening up agricultural land to development”.