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Farm house plans rejected

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Farming
Farm house plans rejected

A FARMER who owns a sprawling estate near Lockerbie has been refused permission to build a retirement house on his land.

Anthony Steel has lived and worked on Kirkwood Farm in Dalton for most of his life, and is now planning a gradual retirement, with his son recently taking ownership of the farm.

Mr Steel submitted a planning application to Dumfries and Galloway Council to build a house that he can retire in – leaving the main house to his son, daughter-in-law and their baby.

Planning bosses refused the application in February this year on the grounds that the location was not acceptable and would lead to “unjustified, sporadic development in the countryside.”

While Kirkwood Farm has anywhere between 50-150 cattle and 500-1000 sheep, the estate has also been developed into a business enterprise offering farm-based activities for tourists with numerous cottages for holiday accommodation.

Mr Steel appealed the decision to refuse building a new property, and an agent acting on his behalf wrote to the council: “The applicant’s son, who is gradually taking over the farm, already has ownership of the farm, and since the planning application was initiated has even married and now has a baby.

“The applicant has a new partner in his life, and it is unreasonable to expect the applicant and his new partner to live with the applicant’s son, daughter-in-law and baby.

“It is therefore essential that the applicant has a new house to live in.”

However, councillors were unsympathetic, particularly because Kirkwood Estate already has seven holiday accommodation buildings, ranging between two and five-star, as well as a derelict building which could be upgraded.

Dee and Glenkens Councillor Andy McFarlane said: “My view is that there is sufficient accommodation available for the family without the need for an additional dwelling at this time.”

North West Dumfries Councillor Emma Jordan added: “I agree with Councillor McFarlane. In the report it shows that there is enough accommodation already for the family, and so I would agree that we should uphold the officer’s decision.”

Mr Steel was seeking permission to build a house on farmland, as well as installing a septic tank with soakaway, and creating sufficient roads access.

However, this was rejected as councillors voted to uphold the planning officer’s decision.

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