A cheesemaker’s need to be near to their herd and improving production should outweigh loss of green belt land, planners say.
Planning officers are recommending Tenacres Cheese’s application for outline permission to build a farm worker’s dwelling and an associated dairy at land off Wadsworth Lane, Hebden Bridge, should be approved when Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee considers it on Tuesday (July 23).
Twenty two letters of objection and one neutral letter of support have been received by the council with objectors’ concerns including loss of green belt land, impact on the wider neighbourhood and an increase in traffic movements.
Planners say the development is not an agricultural use in planning terms and is inappropriate development of green belt.
That means under national planning guidelines very special circumstances are required to outweigh that concerns – and council officers believe they do.
Currently the applicant produces cheese – a fresh cheese known as Gat and an aged soft cheese called Hebden Goat – off site at the maker’s residence.
Tenacres argue these issues could be tackled by the proposals, estimating that if granted 100 per cent of more milk production could go into making more cheese, increasing the wholesale value from around £46,000 per year to around £72,300 annually.
Although the plans would harm the openness of the green belt, proposals would provide enhanced facilities for an existing business to meet demand for a product demonstrated by supporting letters from cheese retailers to be popular, allowing the herd to be expanded.
Councillors will make their decision on July 23 when Planning Committee meets at Halifax Town Hall from 2pm.