Joy for local farm business

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A family farming business has been allowed to continue to keep gritting machinery on site after being granted planning permission for a storage building.

Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee overturned the planning officer’s recommendations and voted to approve the plans to retain a lean-to for the storage of gritters at Fairfield Farm at Darley.

The Houseman family had support from Coun Helen Flynn and Menwith with Darley Parish Council, who urged the committee to approve the plans.

Coun Flynn, Lib Dem councillor for the Nidd Valley ward, presented a petition with 150 signatures.

She said: “Things don’t stand still in the country. Small rural farms need to be able to diversify to move forward.”

The Houseman family’s farm provide gritting services during the winter months. Giles Chaplin, director of Lister Haigh Ltd who represented the fmaily said this allowed them to employ staff on a full time basis all year round.

Menwith with Darley Parish Council clark, Sue Welsh, spoke highly of the employment opportunites the Houseman family are providing.

She said: “People can make a living this way.”

In a report the planning officer questioned the sustainability of the business venture and argued that the gritting was not an example of farm diversification.

Planning Committee member Coun Phil Ireland said: “The gritting business is clearly keeping people in work.

“It is diversifaction and sustainability personified.”

Linda Houseman from the family run business said: “We are very pleased with the outcome and the local support.”