Posted: Mon 11th Sep 2023

Family facing homelessness as council rejects plans for new home near reindeer herd /

A family could be made homeless after plans for a new home near their reindeer herd were turned down.
Denbighshire Council refused plans submitted by Simon Garrett for a house at North Hills Farm, Graianrhyd, Mold.
Mr Garrett insisted the proposed house, near the site of the family’s Christmas tree business, had to be near their reindeer herd.
But the council’s planning committee threw out the planning application as the family had sold their previous home in 2017, which had already been near the farm. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Officers claimed the applicant was attempting to manipulate Welsh planning law, which only grants agricultural businesses permission to build new homes on open countryside in exceptional circumstances.
The family have been living in a cabin on the farm land since selling their home in 2017 and claim they sold their previous home to invest between £150-200,000 into the Christmas tree business.
Denbighshire Council, though, have served an enforcement notice to remove the family from the cabin.
When Cllr Win Mullen-James asked if refusing the application would make the family homeless, officers indicated it might.
Addressing the planning committee, applicant Simon Garrett said: “Because of the unique nature of reindeer and their requirements, it is essential that we live amongst the herd on site.
They are very clever and spiritual animals, and continuous interaction with the herd is essential.”
He added: “We had no intention to manipulate the planning system only to care for our family and safeguard their future and the future of the farm.”
Councillors heard how the family had owned the Christmas tree farm for 12 years where they breed, raise, and train reindeer, grow Christmas trees, and have holiday accommodation.
Planning officers, though, said they were investigating which buildings on site were permittable and which needed planning permission.
Cllr Terry Mendies spoke against the application.
“Normally the local member supports an application in his ward,” he said.
“The majority of the community is against this application and concurs with the planning officer that this planning application is a blatant attempt to circumvent planning laws.
“This is the thirteenth application relating to this property. Mr Garrett sold the family home and bought the agricultural land and moved his family into temporary accommodation.
“This temporary accommodation has lasted six years. That is the salient point.
“He sold the family home, which was quite near the business that is there now, and moved his family on to agricultural land of his own volition, and it seems really the only reason he has put in a planning application is because of the enforcement notice that was issued a few years ago.”
He added: “If approved, this sets a dangerous precedent for future applications.”
Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts said there could be a wider financial case made for the whole site in the future due to the economic benefits to the area.
Cllr Gareth Sandilands acknowledged mistakes had been made but said the committee should look to show compassion towards the family.
But councillors followed officers’ recommendation and voted unanimously against the application. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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