Hebden Bridge cheesemaker to appeal decision to refuse plan to build on green belt

A cheesemaker's plan has been refused
A cheesemaker's plan has been refused

A Hebden Bridge cheesemaker will appeal against a planning committee’s refusal to permit the building of a farm worker’s home with an associated dairy.

Planning officers had argued there were exceptional circumstances why Tenacres Cheese should be given outline permission to build on green belt land at Wadsworth Lane, Hebden Bridge.

But members of Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee thought otherwise and went against officers’ recommendation, refusing permission for development.

Gillian Clough, who presented Tenacres’ case to the committee, said the cheesemaker would appeal the decision.

Approval was necessary to provide sufficient care and supervision for the livestock, allowing the goat herd to be expanded.

“It will secure a profitable future for the agricultural business and the proceeds of this will maintain the land in productive agricultural condition and benefit the local economy,” she said.

More than 40 people signed a petition opposing the plan, and Phil Wells, for objectors, said they believed it was key that the council itself recognised development would damage the green belt unless very special circumstances were shown.

Objectors disputed this and were “strong, united and long standing” in their opposition to it, he said.

Coun Dave Young (Lab, Calder) said: “Basically, it comes down to ‘do you think there are very special circumstances to build in the green belt’.

“I would argue this is not particularly very special circumstances and you should not be building homes in the green belt, you could set a really bad precedent here.”

Mayor of Hebden Royd, Coun Dr Carol Stow, also opposed the application on behalf of Hebden Royd Town Council.

Officers had agreed the plans in themselves did breach green belt policy – but that there were very special circumstances why they should be allowed.

Mrs Clough explained Tenacres had restored the land for agricultural use, establishing an agricultural business without receiving any farming subsidy or grant.

Officers had agreed there were very special circumstances including the health and wellbeing of the animals and addition of the dairy would also enhance the company’s ability to make more of the cheese, for which there was evidenced demand, creating employment, she said.

Coun Paul Bellenger (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) said Tenacres was a fantastic business and understood to maintain the land agricultural buildings were needed.

“However, when it comes to developing a residential property in green belt, that is when I have to draw the line,” he said.

He proposed councillors refuse outline permission and this was the decision councillors took.