What a Knot!

Mr & Mrs Billygoat purchased c.14 acres of pasture in March 1985; the land lies in the Green Belt and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 


Shortly after buying the property they erected an agricultural barn without the benefit of planning permission for the goat rearing enterprise they operated from the land. Through the passage of time the barn became immune from enforcement action. Mr & Mrs Billygoat started making cheese with the goats milk and at some point a third of the barn was converted to living accommodation.

In 1989 an application was made to regularise the use of the barn for agriculture and part occasional living accommodation but it was refused. The Council served an enforcement notice in 1990 citing the breach of planning control to be the “Erection of a building for a mixed use of residential purposes and agricultural purposes.”

The Enforcement Notice was appealed. The Inspector found there was insufficient agricultural justification to warrant the retention of residential accommodation at the Property based on the nature of agricultural business argued at the Inquiry.

The Inspector noted that the manufacture of cheese from the milk could aid the viability of a business however he asserted that such an operation would not be agricultural and therefore would require planning permission. In the absence of such a consent the Inspector concluded that it would be premature to grant permission for the residential use on the assumption that a permission for the cheese manufacturing would be granted. The Inspector upheld the Enforcement Notice. Mr & Mrs Billygoat challenged the decision at the high court on a point of law but this was dismissed.

Two further applications were made in 1991. The first was for the change of use of part of the barn for the manufacture of goats cheese; a temporary 5 year permission was granted subject to three conditions;

  1. At the expiration of this period the use shall be discontinued and all cheese manufacturing equipment removed from the site.

  2. This permission shall relate only to the manufacture of cheese from milk produced on the site and for no other purposes whatsoever.

  3. The use hereby permitted shall be restricted only to the room identified as Dairy/milk store on the submitted plan.

 

The second application sought to retain part of the barn for residential accommodation. Despite the Council approving the goats cheese manufacturing they were not of the opinion that the enterprise warranted the change of use of part of the barn to residential and refused the application.

An appeal against the refusal was lodged and a further application for the temporary siting of a mobile home was made. The parties agreed that the planning inquiry would be postponed pending the outcome of the caravan application.

In 1992 planning permission was granted for the mobile home; it is understood that following this the appeal was withdrawn. The mobile home permission was subject to two conditions;

  1. This permission is granted for a limited period only expiring on 31 December 1993. At the expiration of this period the mobile home shall be removed and the use discontinued. 

  2. The occupation of the mobile home shall be limited to a person solely or mainly employed, or last employed, in agriculture as defined in S336 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, or in forestry, or a dependent of such a person residing with him or her, or a widow or widower of such a person.

 

In applying the second condition the Council had accepted there was a need for an agricultural worker…

Within twelve months of the mobile home approval, a further planning application was submitted for the change of use of part of the barn to accommodation for an agricultural worker. The application was granted subject to two conditions;

  1. This permission is granted for a limited period only. At the expiration of this period the use hereby permitted shall be discontinued. 

  2. This permission shall not enure for the benefit of the land and the use hereby permitted shall cease when either the applicant ceases to occupy the residential accommodation or the applicant ceases to run the goat enterprise at the property

 

Finally in 1996 permanent consent was granted for the residential accommodation but it included a personal condition;

  1. This permission shall not enure for the benefit of the land and the use hereby permitted shall cease when either Mr & Mrs Billygoat cease to occupy the residential accommodation or Mr & Mrs Billygoat ceases to run the goat enterprise at the property

 

Furthermore in 1997 a permanent change of use was granted for part barn to be used for the manufacture of handmade goats cheese but imposed three restrictive conditions;

  1. This permission shall not enure for the benefit of the land and the use hereby permitted shall cease when either Mr & Mrs Billygoat cease to run the goat rearing and cheese making business at the property or Mr & Mrs Billygoat cease to occupy the residential accommodation at the property 

  2. This permission shall relate only to the manufacture of cheese from milk produced on the site and for no other purposes whatsoever. 

  3. The use hereby permitted shall be restricted only to the room identified as Dairy/milk store edged red on drawing number approved plans.

 

Mr Billygoat fell ill in the latter 1990s and shortly thereafter the farming business and operations ceased. In 2000 the part of the barn which had been used for the housing of animals and cheese production was converted into residential accommodation (without planning consent).

In 2005 Mr & Mrs Billgoat's daughter and family moved into the barn and the entire family cohabited within the barn as a single planning unit until 2016 when Mrs Billygoat passed away and then 2018 when Mr Billygoat passed away. The daughter and family continue to reside at the barn; none of the surviving residents are employed or have ever been employed in agriculture.

All content © 2018 Briggs & Stone Limited - all rights reserved

Incorporated and registered in England and Wales - registered number 11328499

Registered office - Faulkner House, Victoria Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 3SE

VAT registration number 297143575

  • Twitter Social Icon