New farm worker's home approved for Northumberland countryside

The application had sparked an objection from the parish council. v.1

By Ben O'Connell
Friday, 27th November 2020, 6:41 pm

A new home in the north Northumberland countryside has been given the nod, after councillors accepted the need to have another farmer on site.

The application was for a single-storey property with attached car port on a plot at The Hope Farm, in the open countryside between Longframlington and Rothbury.

Planning rules dictate that isolated homes in the countryside should be avoided unless there is an essential need for a rural worker, which was agreed to be the case here.

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The location of the new home at Hope Farm, west of Longframlington. Picture c/o Google.

The new dwelling will be for the son of the Heron family, as the size of the operation – including 700 breeding ewes and 60 suckler cows – now requires two full-time farmers to be on site.

A report justifying the need for an additional worker had been submitted and it had been independently assessed, meaning that the planning officers had recommended the scheme be approved.

A condition, that would require a separate application to remove and would be ‘highly unlikely’ to succeed, means that occupation is limited to a person ‘solely or mainly employed’ in The Hope Farm.

Therefore, the bid was backed by seven votes to one, with two abstentions, at the Thursday, November 19, meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

The proposal had sparked an objection from Brinkburn and Hesleyhurst Parish Council, which stated that it ‘appears to be purely a housing developmentin the open countryside. There is no connection to the farm, with no tie-in to employment’.

The meeting heard that the parish council was re-consulted when the applicant submitted its assessment of the need for an agricultural worker’s dwelling, but it decided to stick to its guns with the objection.

Cllr Steven Bridgett, who moved approval, said: “I’m confident that, with the conditions that have been set out, I am more than comfortable with what’s being proposed.”

He explained that the late Cllr John Taylor had warned him to keep an eye on these types of developments, but added: “I’m confident that the application is for definite need within the family and it will not be anything other than an agricultural worker’s dwelling.”

Cllr Trevor Thorne said: “It is a genuine application, it’s not an application for a home in the countryside by the back door. It’s justified by the farming operation.”

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