Farm in middle of homes site can move to Little Waldingfield

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A FARMER who may lose nearly 70 hectares of land to the Chilton Woods development will be allowed to move his business to Little Waldingfield.

Hugh Edgeley and his parents currently run their farming business from New Farm in Chilton. The land, which totals 68 hectares, is currently leased from Suffolk County Council.

Mr Edgeley and his family stand to lose the land, excluding the house, to the Chilton Woods development.

As a result, Mr Edgeley, who lives in Long Melford, submitted plans to move the base of his operations to 99 hectares (245 acres) of land in Little Waldingfield, by building a family farmhouse and extended grainstore.

Speaking during yesterday’s development committee meeting at Babergh District Council, Mr Edgeley said: “I am the third generation of my family to have his farming career severely affected by the expansion of Sudbury.

“The outline plans for Chilton Woods takes all the land at New Farm.”

He explained that his mother and father, who currently live at New Farm, would retire to the family’s Long Melford home and he and his young family would live and work from the proposed house.

Mr Edgeley said that unless the plans were agreed, the termination of the New Farm tenancy would “destroy three generations of hard work”.

The plans had been recommended for refusal by Babergh District Council on the grounds that there was not an essential need for a home on the site, as the land will not be lost immediately to the development and it was not deemed essential to have a farm worker, in this case Mr Edgeley, living on site.

However, councillors were sympathetic towards the plans. Jack Owen said that there are always exceptions to planning guidelines.

“Decisions that could be made by this council will have a serious impact on the business and housing needs of this family,” said Mr Owen.

Councillor Clive Arthey said: “I find it strange that the argument can be put forward that he is expected to carry on living in the middle of a new housing estate even though there’s no farm.”

Concerns were also raised about having tractors driving between Little Waldingfield and the home in Chilton.

The plans were approved with no objections, subject to agreements including tenancy restrictions.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Edgeley said: “In light of the pressure we’re under from Chilton Woods, we are relieved that we can continue with our business.”