Victory for Littleport smallholders in planning row

Westmoor House Smallholding in Littleport

Westmoor House Smallholding in Littleport - Credit: Archant

A FAMILY smallholding in Littleport has scored a major victory over council planners who rejected their plans to open up a new farm shop.

Westmoor House Smallholding, in Wisbech Road, was started in 2006 by Lindsay and John Creek, who bought a plot of about five acres from a retiring farmer.

Back in June last year, the family applied for permission to construct a new building on the estate that would house a produce store, office and farm shop to sell both goods from the smallholding and from other local suppliers.

Despite support from both the NFU and Littleport Parish Council however, East Cambs District Council refused planning permission on the grounds that the shop would be stocked with too many products that were not produced at the smallholding.

The council also said that the farm shop would have a harmful effect on the rural character of the area and would encourage the use of the motor car because it was outside of the village centre.

The Creeks decided to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and inspectors decided earlier this month to overrule the council and allow the development to go ahead.

In her report, inspector Anne Napier-Derere said: “I fully accept that retail is a use which should normally be encouraged to take place within existing centres, that some customers may make a specific journey to the site to purchase products from the farm and that its location does not lend itself to accessing the site without reliance on the private car.

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“However, taking into account the restricted size of this aspect of the proposal, I

consider that in this instance the harm arising from these matters would be outweighed by the benefits resulting from the modest farm shop supporting the

continued agricultural activity on the holding.”