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Farm neighbours kick up a stink

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
Farming
Farm neighbours kick up a stink

THREE neighbours in Moniaive who are rowing over a farm’s pig shed will have to wait longer than expected to resolve their dispute.

Farmer Harry Gourlay owns a large agricultural building in Upper Ingleston, which he has been using to rear hundreds of pigs.

He is now seeking formal planning permission to use it for pig feeding and rearing, however this has been “strongly opposed” by neighbours Jeff and Sally Boulton, and Gordon Dickie.

The matter was discussed at Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee last week where letters of objection were read out.

Jeff and Sally Boulton wrote: “We live a little west of the pig shed and walk, drive, and cycle daily past this shed.

“The noise is very disturbing. Loud squealing can be heard at any time from our house. I have never heard pigs make so much noise.

“As we also have a lot of rain, the effluent flows down from the pig shed onto the public road and lies parallel to the shed.

“When you travel along the road, this smelly liquid gets everywhere. It then stays with you until you can wash it off.

“If you are down the windy stretch of the pig shed, the smell is very strong and very unpleasant.”

Gordon Dickie, who lives at Poundland Farm 250 metres away from the pig shed, wrote: “We are downwind from the shed, but the scent is so strong that it affects us almost regardless of the wind direction and time of the day and night.

“Last summer it prevented us opening the windows and the doors in the house, and enjoying our garden.

“Very loud and disturbing squealing can be heard at any time, not only when the pigs are being fed.”

Planning chiefs thought the building was constructed after 1992 – the year when agricultural planning regulations changed – however the applicant, Harry Gourlay, told the planning committee that the pig shed was built between 1960 and 1970.

He said: “The main reason for the objections seems to be the unduly adverse impact that the housing of pigs in the application site would have on the residential amenity.

“But both of the houses in question, Poundland and Upper Ingleston, are registered farms with farm codes.”

He added: “If the environmental health officer has no evidence of the smells from several site visits and the pigs are fully compliant to the highest welfare standards, I’d argue that on what justifiable grounds can it be objected?”

Council planning chief David Suttie called for the decision to be deferred so that checks can be made to confirm the age of the pig shed and whether or not the neighbouring buildings are listed as agricultural rather than residential – which would affect the outcome of the planning application.

Councillors agreed to defer the matter and an update will be brought to the next available meeting, which is likely to be March 30 or April 30.

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