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Couple can live on chicken farm

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: June 19, 2012

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A COUPLE who run a poultry farm can live in a caravan there to oversee their business.

Councillors have agreed that Michael and May Barrington can stay in a mobile home at Moorfield Dairy, Willand.

The decision was questioned by Cllr Kevin Wilson because only a fortnight ago Mid Devon planners refused a proposal for a sustainable residential smallholding on land in Holcombe Rogus – against the recommendation of officers.

An application for permission to live at the dairy in Uffculme Road was deferred last December for councillors to be given more information about the progress of the business over the last three years, its turnover and the number of chickens raised annually, currently 13,000.

Cllr Wilson told planners on Wednesday: "We were looking at Holcombe Rogus last week and everybody said there was no need (for smallholders to live on site). All of a sudden, with this, it's a different story.

"I don't think anything has changed and I'm particularly concerned highways don't like it, and I can't see myself supporting this."

Cllr Ray Radford, a former poultry farmer, with connections in the industry, asked the committee to consider whether there was a need for the Barringtons to live on the site and whether the business was viable. It had grown by around a quarter since 2007.

Cllr Radford declared an interest in the application and told the committee before leaving the meeting on Wednesday: "Obviously they (the applicants) have satisfied officers that the financial test has been met and I have no problem with the application. I think it should be approved. The business has grown rather than shrunk. I hope the committee can come to a favourable decision."

Every week, 250 eggs are hatched at Moorfield Dairy and there is a total of 1,000 day-old to four-week-old chicks on the site at any one time.

Mr Barrington delivers the four-week-old chicks to Pipers Farm for slaughter, for which he receives an income, while his wife remains at the dairy to oversee the chicks.

Cllr Paul Williams said: "They've got a nice business, but there's no need to live on the site."

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