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Farmer overturns council planning decision

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Farming
Farmer overturns council planning decision

A MOFFAT farmer has overturned a decision that blocked him from building a house on his land.

Brian Ryder was disappointed earlier this year when Dumfries and Galloway Council planning chiefs rejected his bid to construct a house on a site at Craigbeck Farm.

The farmer lives less than ten miles away from his agricultural land but expressed concerns about security.

Planning officers were having none of it, stating: “The current business has been successfully operated by the applicant for a period of three years without a house being present on the site.

“No evidence has been provided to suggest the unit has experienced any specific issues or problems and whilst a permanent on-site presence may offer an additional safeguard against any such issues emerging, officers do not consider these factors sufficiently demonstrate an essential need for a house to be provided on-site.”

Dumfries land and development consultant John MacColl lodged an appeal on Mr Ryder’s behalf, which was considered by the council’s local review body last week.

The agent stated: “If the application is approved the applicant is to sell his own existing house ten miles away to fund the erection of the new house, and this demonstrates his commitment to the farming business.

“There is an essential need for a dwelling house on the farm.”

He went on: “The importance of having an experienced person on the farm at all times cannot be overstated when a high degree of supervision is required. This again confirms the essential need for a house on the farm to accommodate an experienced and suitably qualified worker.”

“The Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime states that businesses which are less than 30 minutes’ drive from the nearest settlement with over 10,000 people are at greater risk of crime. The application site is in this category.”

The application was for planning permission in principle, therefore house designs have not been formulated yet. However, indicative proposals include a house with a detached garage, and access would be gained via an existing private track from the A708.

While planning officers stuck by their decision for refusal and claimed there was no genuine need for a house for the operation of the business, councillors reviewing the case were split.

Annandale South Councillor Iain Carruthers proposed that the decision be overturned and for planning permission to be granted, while Dee and Glenkens Councillor Andy McFarlane called for the original decision to be upheld.

A vote went 4-3 in favour of granting planning permission.

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