Cattle farmer wants to lift ban on workers moving out of caravan homes at Murrow for the winter

Existing caravans at Somerset Farm, Cant's Drove, Murrow

Existing caravans at Somerset Farm, Cant's Drove, Murrow - Credit: Archant

A beef cattle farmer hopes to get a winter ban removed on casual and migrant workers living in caravans.

Dale and Burgoyne got planning permission for five mobile homes on land at Somerset Farm in Cants Drove, Murrow, providing workers moved out from November to March.

Permission was granted in July but five months later the farm has asked for the winter ban to be lifted as it is not feasible to run the business without staff on site for four months.

The business rears 1300 beef cattle and harvests around 12,000 tonnes of wheat and barley straw as well as operating a 500KW electricity plant from farm yard muck and bedding.

The business has 12 full time employees made up of local, non local and migrant workers.

The winter ban was a condition usually applied to tourist caravan sites not industrial scale agriculture.

A letter to Fenland District Council planners said: “This is not a seasonal operation and the caravans cannot be vacated over the winter months.

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“It is not possible to employ casual labour locally and as with many businesses within farming, use migrant and non local labour.

“The labour requirement is not constant. At times as little as three workers are required.

“At the peak of the season 12 workers are required. At quiet times of the year accommodated employers go home for extended rest periods while locally employed staff cover their duties.

“The nature of rearing cattle and farm security requires that labour is readily available 24/7. Cattle are fed six times daily which includes early , late and night feeds.

“Having employees on site mitigates the need for other employees to be called in.”

The farm has applied to Fenland Council to amend its earlier planning consent.

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