Opposition grows to farmworker's house

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Plans for a 'contemporary' house for a key agricultural worker near Burleydam have sparked more opposition from neighbours.

Dodocot-cum-Wilkesley Parish Council has already objected to a scheme build a new house at Dodcott Grange Farm, near Burleydam.

Now planning consultants representing owners at nearby 1-6 Dodcott Barns have weighed in against the proposals.

The applicants claim the new home is needed for a family member to help run the farm enterprise and so qualifies as a key agricultural worker's dwelling, avoiding restrictions on new buildings in the open countryside.

But consultants Walsingham Planning, acting for neighbours, claim the family member is currently employed by South Cheshire Marquees and Catering, a company based at Dodcott Grange, and does not qualify as a full-time agricultural worker.

They also claim that he also helps run a horse stabling business with his partner and that business also is not classed as an agricultural enterprise.

The statement of objection to Cheshire East Council planners concludes: "It is clear that the development seeks to circumvent planning regulations and proposes a new dwelling in open countryside which is not for a full-time agricultural worker."

A 26-page agricultural assessment for the applicant drawn up by Wright Manley says the applicant has "firm intentions and proven ability" to develop a successful and viable enterprise as proposed.

Dodcott Grange presently comprises 517 acres of which 180 acres are owned and an additional 237 acres rented out. The farm currently has 65 head suckler herd of beef cattle, 320 ewes and four rams, the report said.

But Walsingham Planning describe the agricultural appraisal as "very confusing and misleading" and suggest not only that the new dwelling is too far from existing stock sheds to be considered part of the agricultural enterprise and that there are a number of suitable vacant dwellings nearby that could be used by a farmworker.

The application is due to be heard at Cheshire East Council's Southern Planning Committee meeting on December 11th.

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