Agenda item

72194: Greenwood Farm, South Molton, Devon, EX36 3PE

Continued siting of a mobile home to be used as a dwelling beyond temporarily consented period. (report attached).



The Committee considered a report by the Planning Officer (DB) (circulated previously).


The Planning Officer addressed the Committee and advised that:


·         The existing dwelling had been granted temporary permission in 2011. It had been occupied by the applicant since that date.

·         Previous applications had been unsuccessful due to the period of occupation and the notice period given.

·         The presentation showed the dwelling was a single storey timber structure used as a residence for an agricultural worker.

·         The dwelling was used as a home for the applicant who was running a business from the dwelling – and ran a calf rearing business. Numbers of livestock on the holding were confirmed.

·         External expert advice was sought on the case to provide the functional needs assessment. It was deemed that the care for the heifers was not the sole interest of the business, nor only source of income, as the majority of the income was provided by contracting works. . The conclusion of the assessment was that not all elements of the applicants work should be used to determine a functional need. Whilst there were different figures for the SMD hours it was concluded that the evidence was insufficient to support a functional need.

·         Queries over the costings provided by the applicant as part of the accounts, and the fact the accounts did not appear to be audited, resulted in the officers being unable to conclude that the business was ‘well established and profitable”. The removal of the farrier work etc would mean the business would be at a break even or loss situation.

·         The business needed to demonstrate a functional and profitable business in order for the Authority to justify the essential need for the applicant to be resident on-site.


Councillor Worden, Leader of NDC, (supporter), Phillip Carr (applicant), Nigel Downe (supporter), Rex Milton (Parish Council Representative) and Graham Townsend (agent) addressed the Committee.


Service Manager (Development Management) (MB) addressed the Committee and reconfirmed that the decision had to be evidence-based and the recommendation had been made based on expert advice.


The Chair addressed the Committee (as Ward Member).


RESOLVED (unanimous) that the application be APPROVED subject to:

(a) a standard occupancy condition and S106 Agreement to tie the land to the dwelling

(b) That Mr Downe (expert agricultural witness) be requested to provide to the Planning Authority a written copy of his statement to the Committee prior to the decision notice being issued.

In reaching its decision, the Committee approved the application for the following reasons:

1.    As there was sufficient information to properly analyse the functional needs of the Farm, both by reference to a Standard Man Days or Standard Man Hours calculation and review of the practical processes relating to the farming activities. In light of the above the policy test for a permanent dwelling or continued use of the mobile home beyond the consent period had therefore been established. The proposed development was therefore considered to be justified development in the Countryside and supported by Policies ST07 and DM28 of the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan Rural Workers Dwelling Supplementary Planning Document and Paragraph 79 of The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

2.    The Committee considered that there was sufficient justification to demonstrate a viable business. The business could be considered to be profitable and fulfilled the criteria of one year’s profit in the last three trading years, when considering the elements of the business that formed the functional requirement to support the delivery of a residential unit. The development was therefore considered a justified unit of accommodation in the open countryside supported by Policies ST07 and DM28 of the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan Rural Workers Dwelling Supplementary Planning Document and Paragraph 79 of the NPPF.

3.    In addition the Committee also recognised the sustainable nature of the business and considered that it was supported in this respect by the NPPF key thread supporting sustainable business and industry which was recognised as a Material Planning Consideration.



Supporting documents: