Alpaca farm gets green light for plans — but access row rumbles on

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An alpaca breeder is in dispute over access to her business — but has still been granted permission for a mobile home on her land.

Charlotte Major of Orchard Corner Alpacas, on Drift Lane, Barkston, received permission for a single-unit mobile home from South Kesteven District Council.

The owner will use the accommodation to monitor her 50-plus alpacas.

Orchard Corner Alpacas, in Barkston.
Orchard Corner Alpacas, in Barkston.

However Steve Elmore, the landowner of Drift Lane, is in dispute with the applicant and obtained an injunction last year limiting access to domestic vehicles and emergency vets.

Mr Elmore argued this meant the applicants lacked a right of way to access their business.

“The part of Drift Lane mentioned is 380 metres long and is in my ownership.

“It is, however, unsurfaced and is very uneven, poorly drained and full of potholes.

“It is adequate for bridleway users and for the few farm vehicles that have right of way, but it isn’t maintained by either Lincolnshire County Council or myself because it is deemed satisfactory for this usage.”

He argued that the denial of access would mean construction vehicles and materials would be unable to access the site.

Councillors were told the access issue was for Mrs Major to resolve and not a planning consideration.

Mrs Major noted that highways officers did not object to the sceheme — and said the business passed both functional and financial tests.

“The council’s independent experts have been satisfied that we’ve planned our business on a sound financial basis,” she said.

She said that with permission for the building for a period of two years: “We’re very confident we could demonstrate that it’s a viable farming business.”

She noted a lack of objections from other members of the local community and said passing the plans would “allow us to move forward to fulfil our dream of building a farming business”.

Councillors questioned the site’s suitability, infrastructure, access rights, and the provision of adequate shelter, storage, and facilities for the alpacas.

Members expressed doubt about monitoring the business without a permanent on-site presence and sought clarification on the strengthened business plan since a previous unsuccessful application.

They questioned the impact on the business’s viability without temporary accommodation.

In response, the applicants detailed their plans, explaining that the 20-acre plot was chosen for its size and access, and that she had had pre-planning advice which suggested it was suitable.

The applicant stressed alpacas can be walked short distances if needed, and shelter and storage facilities are available on-site.

They said constant supervision is required, making CCTV unsuitable. The previous refusal was due to missing financial information — which she had now addressed with updated accounts.

Planning officers and experts deemed alpaca farming a suitable rural enterprise, but not granting temporary accommodation would effectively end the business, the applicant warned.

Councillors ultimately approved the plans for the temporary rural workers building.

The committee felt a two-year permission would allow further assessment of business viability without commitment to a permanent home.

While access issues existed, these were deemed separate legal matters rather than planning considerations.

With no objections on other grounds and the proposal aligned with relevant policies, councillors believed the application could be supported.

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