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Residents furious at “ugly” animal shed

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Farming
Residents furious at “ugly” animal shed

A LARGE agricultural shed built without permission is spoiling a nationally recognised scenic spot in Gatehouse of Fleet.

That is the view of a group of local residents who have described the shed, constructed at Culreoch Farm, as an “ugly intrusion into a scenic area of natural importance.”

Helen Gray, Peter Gray, Richard Scott, and Josephine Scott all raised objections at Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee last week after retrospective planning permission was sought for the 92 sq m animal shed at the farm.

Jane Murray-Usher submitted a formal application seeking retrospective permission, but the size and appearance of the building sparked a furious reaction from nearby householders.

Objector Helen Gray sent a letter to the planning committee, which stated: “The building is unsightly, unkept, oversized, and out of keeping with the farms of Culreoch and Murraytown, which border the Fleet Valley – a recognised national scenic area.

“It is already showing signs of disrepair.”

Richard and Josephine Scott submitted a joint statement, which read: “Development in rural areas should be suitably scaled, sighted, and designed to be in keeping with the character of the area – in this case a national scenic area.

“In the report, the planning officer uses words such as ‘backdrop’ and ‘palette’ seem to suggest that this shed is something of a work of art, rather than what we say is an ugly intrusion into the scenic area of natural importance.

“We would respectfully suggest that members of the committee form their own view on this aspect of the matter.”

Nith Councillor David Slater also raised concerns about the building being erected first – and then the applicant seeking permission afterwards.

However, the council’s chief planning officer, David Suttie, explained that, if due process had been followed, there would have been no need for the matter to even come before the planning committee. It would have been approved unconditionally.

The farm shed is to facilitate suitable shelter to livestock for over-wintering, lambing and calving periods as the applicant has stated the existing traditional steadings are no longer fit for purpose.

For the remainder of the year, the shed will provide housing for animal feeds and be a covered area to store larger farm vehicles and equipment as the applicant has stated that the current steading buildings are no longer fit for purpose.

Planning case officer Louise O’Reilly recommended that the application be approved, which councillors supported.

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