Plans for a new home intended to house agricultural workers on a Norfolk farm have led to accusations that it is a “retirement project” for the current farmer “in disguise”. 

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has approved plans for a new home on Bale Road, in Sharrington, a village between Thursford and Holt. 

The property, which will be built on farmland, is an “agricultural workers dwelling”, which can be built in areas where homes may normally be rejected if they are to help run the business. 

But in the recent planning committee meeting councillors and objecting speakers suggested the development would not be used by a worker and was for the current farmer when his son takes over the business. 

Eastern Daily Press: Andrew Brown, councillor for Stody Andrew Brown, councillor for Stody (Image: NNDC)

Andrew Brown, councillor for Stody, said: “What we have here is an agricultural worker dwelling application which is in fact a disguise for what is a retirement project.” 

He said a previous application pulled four years ago had suggested the farmer was close to retiring on medical grounds. 

“Obviously that has miraculously changed because we see in this application that the applicant is intended to continue working as an agricultural worker,” he added. 

For an agricultural worker building to be approved there also must be no alternative properties available in the area, with Mr Brown arguing there were several options. 

But Jerry Stone, a supporting speaker, described the scheme as a “small bungalow” and that the applicant had made changes to address local concerns, including replacing a render with cladding. 

He said: “The council’s own agricultural worker assessor has assessed this bungalow as necessary for the continued use of the site. There are no alternative dwellings close by. 

“There is a need for bungalows for an ageing population and a need for family homes.” 

The meeting heard that retired workers are allowed to stay in agriculture dwellings. 

The application was approved seven to five.