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Farmer who lost herd to Bovine TB refused planning for educational animal attraction

29 Dec 2023 3 minute read
Llamas. Image: Carol Van Canon

A farm barn attraction and café, built after the owner lost his cattle herd to Bovine TB, has been turned down by Pembrokeshire planners despite council educational providers using its facilities.

Stuart Williams of Home Farm, Leweston, near Camrose, sought to retain the Willhome Farm Barn farm park – and ancillary buildings – built in June 2022.

The application was supported by local community council Camrose.

Severe TB outbreak

A supporting statement by agent Aled Thomas Planning Design Ltd said: “In 2022, The Williams family had to lose their entire milking/dairy and beef herd due to a severe outbreak of Bovine TB on their farm.

“Following the loss of their entire income/livelihood, they had to create some income for the farm and the family.

“Due to the Bovine TB outbreak, they were unable to re-stock their diary herd for a few years to ensure that they are able to perform the necessary deep clean to the housing buildings, milking parlour and various aspects required by the Animal Health section of Welsh Government. “Therefore, they had the idea of opening a small-scale farm barn attraction which gives people the opportunity to meet various animals and learn more about agriculture.”

The statement added: “During school terms Mr Williams has ten regular [county council] educational groups visiting, that are split into morning and afternoon sessions, Monday – Friday. These are transported using mini-buses or a maximum of four cars/taxis.

“He currently has an additional six Pembrokeshire County Council educational providers awaiting slots and has started discussions with PCC educational management to provide stronger links for the school curriculum in the future.

“Willhome Farm Barn is having a massive impact on the lives of every pupil who attends and by July 2023 there is already over 6,000 pupils booked in, with one council provision actually having filmed their pupils to show the development of the pupils from attending the barn to similar provisions across Wales.”

Concerns

A report for planners said the main building contained internal pens to accommodate rabbits, llamas, donkeys, poultry, owls, goats, ponies and pigs to be accessed by visiting members of the public, along with a café building with internal and external seating areas, and some merchandise goods for sale, public conveniences, a children’s play area, and parking.

The application was refused under delegated powers due to concerns it would have a detrimental impact highway safety, with insufficient information submitted that the development could be accessed in a sustainable manner.

The application was also refused on the grounds it would generate additional foul water flows which are likely to result in an increase in phosphate levels in the Cleddau River, adversely affecting the Cleddau Rivers Special Area of Conservation.


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