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Farmer wins planning appeal for house

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By MArc McLean, local democracy reporter
Farming
Farmer wins planning appeal for house

A TONGLAND farmer has won an appeal to build a new house on his land for his son to live in.

John Locke, who runs Park of Tongland Farm with his son Ian, was refused planning permission by Dumfries and Galloway Council in March this year to construct a new home, along with the installation of a septic tank and soakaway.

Planning chiefs made the decision, stating that the proposals contravened local development plan policies on housing in the countryside, and also argued that it “would not be sympathetic to the local built forms, nor would it adequately respect the existing physical and landscape features of the site.”

Mr Locke, who has owned Park of Tongland Farm since 1998, hired Ericht Planning and Property Consultants to submit an appeal on his behalf.

The agent wrote a lengthy statement, explaining that while John Locke and his wife lived in Dairy House on the site, his son Ian no longer lives nearby after a local landlord took back the cottage he was renting.

The statement reads: “There is an essential need for two workers (Ian and John Locke) to live on-farm and thus the requirement for the additional house.

“The farm is a mixed livestock unit with 115 breeding cows, their calves (typically 160) and followers, three bulls plus 240 breeding ewes and their lambs (typically 360).

“With both spring and winter calving taking place over six months of the year, together with spring lambing there is absolutely a requirement for two workers to live on-farm.”

The appeal was heard at the council’s local review body meeting last Wednesday. Castle Douglas and Crocketford Councillor Iain Howie was sympathetic to the family’s situation and called for the original planning refusal to be overturned.

He said: “Farming is an incredibly dangerous occupation. We’ve had a recent tragedy in the Stewartry with a very experienced farmer. Unfortunately there was fatal accident involving him.

“The requirements for more than one person to be available the majority of the time at these high pressure situations, such as calving, is almost essential.

“On that basis, I would be happy for the appeal to progress and this be approved.”

Fellow councillors sitting voted through this decision.

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