‘Chicken and egg situation’

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TRYING to get planning permission to establish a farm really is a “chicken and egg situation”, according to Moyle councillor Cara McShane.

She was speaking at a meeting between Moyle Council and planners regarding an opinion to refuse permission for a new agricultural shed 215 metres south east of 40 Straid Road, Ballycastle. The applicant is C Brown.

Planners say under Sustainable Development in the Countryside guidelines, the farm holding is not active and established.

Cllr McShane said: “What comes first? It is a chicken and egg situation. If somebody is trying to establish a farm are you supposed to do that without a shed for six years?”

Planning officer Julie McMath said they could only deal with such cases under the current policy.

She added: “As to how someone starts up that is not something I can answer”.

She said it was a matter which could perhaps be raised with the Department of Agriculture.

Cllr Willie Graham said a shed is needed to keep animals in during the winter.

A suggestion from Cllr Joan Baird was agreed that the Council should write to Stormont and ask for the planning policy to be amended to allow for some leeway on farming issues.

She said somewhere is needed on a farm to keep animals.

“We are not New Zealand here - we can’t keep our cattle out all winter grazing,” said Cllr Baird.

She said the planning policy is inhibiting farming and tourism which she said are two areas which will help pull the north Antrim area out of the economic slump.

Cllr David McAllister said North Antrim MLA Paul Frew would like an office meeting with Planning Service about the Brown case.