Pig farmer can return to boyhood farm in Rocklands, near Attleborough, after councillors reject planning advice

A pig farmer can return to his boyhood farm to raise a family after councillors rejected planning officers' objections to a new house on his parents' estate.

Mark Shadrack said he wanted to live at Peels Farm in Rocklands, near Attleborough, because it needed another worker on site as the farm partners living in two of the three existing houses are approaching retirement.

He told Breckland planning committee yesterday he got engaged to his primary school teacher girlfriend of eight years in the new year, and currently commutes from the home they rent in Attleborough.

Planners opposed plans for a three-bedroom building because of policy stating new houses outside village boundaries are only allowed in exceptional circumstances, and retirement cannot be used to justify an agricultural dwelling.

Erica Whettingsteel, planning consultant for Mr Shadrack's father Graham who submitted the application, said: 'This is a well-run business, not just the farming business, that employs completely family members.

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'This is a case of succession planning and making best use of the farm. This farm has run since post-war. There seems to be no reason why those family members, some of whom were actually born on the site, should move away when they reach retirement age.'

Councillors unanimously rejected the advice of planning officers, but struggled to find valid planning reasons to justify their decision.

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They eventually accepted chairman Elizabeth Gould's suggestion that there was an essential need for the property on the farm.

After the meeting, Mark Shadrack said: 'I was up it the air. I was pretty nervous as it got refused before. I'm so delighted that it's gone through.

'I have lived on the farm all my life. The main farm house is where I grew up as a boy and we have been together for a long time, so for us to be able to live there and grow as a family there is brilliant.'

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