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Country Life Not Always So Idyllic

In a case which illustrates that country living is not always an idyll, a homeowner who objected on noise and odour grounds to his neighbour’s plans to keep chickens and goats in a new agricultural building has had his challenge to planning permission granted for the development dismissed by the High Court.

The consent had been granted by the relevant local authority on the advice of one of its officers who recommended that the new building and its proposed use for keeping livestock and agricultural equipment were appropriate to a rural area.

In rejecting the homeowner’s challenge to that decision, the Court found that the officer had not been obliged to inquire as to the number of chickens and goats that would be kept in the building. The modest structure, which would cover only 300 square metres, would have a limited capacity for animals.

Restrictions on livestock numbers would be impractical to enforce and the developer would in any event have been permitted to keep unlimited numbers of animals in the open without requiring planning consent. Although the officer’s advice contained certain ‘drafting errors’ – probably the result of ‘cutting and pasting’ – his reasons for recommending the grant of consent were clearly expressed.