Fenland livestock worker sees caravan plans halted by planning inspector

A FENLAND worker who lives in a mobile home to care for horses, sheep and ponies will be forced to move after a planning inspector quashed proposals for a permanent caravan.

Councillors threw out an application to station the static caravan at Fincham Lodge, in Church Road, Christchurch, last year.

Planning inspector Ian Radcliffe upheld their decision after applicant Susan McCutcheon appealed - stating that there were not enough animals to justify a full-time worker’s year-round presence.

The mobile home was also positioned outside the development area boundary and resulted in “harm to the character and appearance of the countryside”.

Ms McCutcheon had been employing Donna Sutton to care for five Welsh mountain ponies, two Andalusian horses and six rare-breed Soay sheep, with foals and lambs due next year.

Mr Radcliffe said: “In 2012 two foals could be born along with several lambs. Whilst I recognise animals in labour and their newborn offspring may require essential care, the small number of births means that an onsite presence would be an infrequent requirement that would not necessitate a full-time, year-round presence.

“Animals do fall ill but with the daily care that would be provided by a non-resident worker, illness could still be identified and treated.”

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Mr Radcliffe said that there had been theft from the site, arson in the area and there was a risk of livestock escaping - with the Soay sheep especially agile - but these reasons did not justify a “readily available” resident on-site.

The applicant had confirmed that the holding was a hobby rather than a business, prompting Mr Radcliffe to conclude that because “the holding is run for pleasure rather than profit” it would be “incapable of financing a permanent dwelling in three years time”.

Removal of the mobile home will be referred to the Planning Compliance team.

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