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Farmer’s holiday let plans shattered

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Farmer’s holiday let plans shattered

A COUNCILLOR’S plea to allow a Dumfries farmer to build new holiday accommodation on his land was dismissed last week.

Lochar Councillor Maureen Johnstone attended Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee last Wednesday and spoke on behalf of John Paterson, who runs Hartbush Farm in Amisfield.

Mr Paterson had submitted a planning application to the council for the erection of a three-bedroom property, along with a septic tank and soakaway, but planning case officer Carla Livingstone had recommended that it be refused.

The steading consists of the farmhouse, a mix of traditional and more modern agricultural buildings and dwellinghouses, one of which is already let as holiday accommodation.

Councillor Johnstone was hoping to convince councillors to disregard the planning officer’s recommendation and instead approve building consent for the holiday accommodation.

She said: “The application before you is for permanent holiday accommodation only, expanding a successful farm’s holiday let diversification business which significantly contributes to the local economy.

“Knowing the applicant and family, I can assure you that this is a genuine application for a holiday let for the long term – not the short term as referred to in the report.

“There is no plan whatsoever to sell the house. It will be used solely for the purpose described in the application.

“If I believed this not to be the case, I would not be here today.”

She added: ”The report ignores the wider economic benefits for all businesses associated with agriculture and tourism.”

But the planning case officer insisted that the proposal failed to meet the criteria in the council’s local development policy, and would effectively amount to a new house being built in the countryside – which could then be sold on without any restrictions.

Council planning chief David Suttie advised councillors: “The site is a farm, it’s not primarily tourist accommodation.

“It’s an existing farm which has diversified by having a replacement one-for-one house, which they have chosen to use for tourist accommodation.

“But the overall unit is not a tourist accommodation site, which is ordinarily limited to caravan and holiday parks.”

He added: “Effectively, this is an unrestricted house. Therefore other policies kick into play.”

Nith Councillor John Campbell put forward a motion to refuse the house building application, which was unanimously agreed by the committee.

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