Farm stall seller slams coun­cil red tape

Campbeltown Courier - - NEWS - Mark Davey editor@camp­bel­town­courier.co.uk

A PRIZE-WIN­NING egg farmer has closed her A83 Bel­lochan­tuy farm stall af­ter claim­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cers had been ‘over-en­thu­si­as­tic’.

Mum-of-four Han­nah Jones added com­plet­ing all the forms to com­ply with leg­is­la­tion was im­pos­si­ble con­sid­er­ing the time needed to run the ex­ist­ing farm busi­ness.

More than 60 peo­ple took to so­cial me­dia last week to sup­port Mrs Jones and the Courier re­ceived three let­ters back­ing the busi­ness­woman’s ini­tia­tive.

Mrs Jones said: ‘We had at least 14 in­spec­tions in a year and with four chil­dren and the farm we do not have the time.’

The stall started life as a hut at the end of the wind­ing drive to High Bel­lochan­tuy farm.

Cus­tomers could buy Kin­tyre eggs and in sea­son veg­eta­bles, such as a bag of cour­gettes for £1.

Mrs Jones and her hus­band Will had a more am­bi­tious scheme and ap­plied for plan­ning per­mis­sion in 2014 for a per­ma­nent struc­ture on ground they owned ad­ja­cent to the Ar­gyll ho­tel.

The fol­low­ing year a wooden farm stall was erected and the items sold ex­panded to in­clude crafts, rolled oats, ice-cream, tablet and pre­serves.

In ad­di­tion, a hard­stand­ing was cre­ated by the shop and soon the be­gin­nings of a pet­ting zoo were es­tab­lished with the ar­rival of a sow named Big Pig and a lit­ter of piglets.

A stone dyke was erected next to the shop and pic­nic ta­bles in­stalled. A shed with a sand­pit inside for chil­dren to play on rainy days and fur­ther an­i­mals, in­clud­ing geese, sheep, hens and rab­bits, were added.

A sink with cold run­ning wa­ter was in­stalled to com­ply with hand­wash­ing reg­u­la­tions af­ter chil­dren had touched the an­i­mals but the Jone­ses never in­stalled toi­lets. Orig­i­nally the stall co-ex­isted with the Ar­gyll ho­tel and vis­i­tors were al­lowed to use its toi­lets.

This year the ho­tel ad­justed its open­ing hours and at one stage found it was run­ning out of toi­let rolls and need­ing to do ad­di­tional clean­ing at times when it was not open for res­i­dents.

The ho­tel pro­pri­etor said there has al­ways been in­for­mal use of its fa­cil­i­ties dur­ing open­ing hours for peo­ple who walk on the beach.

The hard­stand­ing, stone dyke and shed was in vari­ance with the orig­i­nal plan­ning per­mis­sion and on Fe­bru­ary 24 this year Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil served an en­force­ment no­tice.

It stated: ‘As the own­ers of the land af­fected you are re­quired to make an ap­pli­ca­tion to Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil, as plan­ning author­ity, for the de­vel­op­ment of the land af­fected that rep­re­sents the breach of plan­ning con­trol, or re­move the unau­tho­rised de­vel­op­ments.’

On Wed­nes­day Mrs Jones told the Courier she did not have the time to com­plete a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion.

A spokesper­son for Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil said: ‘As a coun­cil we are com­mit­ted to en­cour­ag­ing de­vel­op­ment in Ar­gyll and Bute and we work hard with busi­nesses and house­hold­ers to en­sure that, where pos­si­ble, their plans can be­come re­al­ity.

‘We want to see busi­nesses flour­ish and grow and we are here to help that hap­pen.

‘Our reg­u­la­tory ser­vices, such as plan­ning, en­vi­ron­men­tal health and trad­ing stan­dards, have a duty un­der the law to en­sure statu­tory reg­u­la­tions are com­plied with. This creates an even play­ing field for all busi­nesses.

‘We would en­cour­age all busi­nesses to get in touch with us if they are plan­ning any de­vel­op­ment.

‘Our plan­ning and reg­u­la­tory ser­vice is com­mit­ted to mak­ing Ar­gyll and Bute an at­trac­tive place to live, work and in­vest.’

A sign ad­ver­tis­ing the var­i­ous at­trac­tions at the farm stall.

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