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FARMERS near Newtown have won an appeal against Powys County Council, and will now be allowed to build a barn on their land.

In May 2020, the Woosnam family of Upper Gwestydd, Cefn Mawr on the outskirts of Newtown, applied under permitted development rights, to build a steel portal framed general purpose agricultural building.

They explained in the application that the building will assist with the running of the farm.

In July 2020, the application was refused with Powys planners explaining that it “failed to demonstrate that there would not be an unacceptable impact on highway safety”.

Planning inspector Anthony Thickett, said: “The main issue is whether the alleged impact of the proposed development on highway safety is a relevant consideration in determining whether prior approval is required.”

Mr Thickett explained that permitted development on a farm of five hectares of more is permitted so long as the developer as for prior approval with regard to the design and external appearance of the building.

He also believed that the planning officers interpretation of the highway issues were wrong.

Mr Thickett said:

“The Council’s objections are not that the siting of the building would in itself impact on highway safety by say, interfering with visibility, but on the grounds that it would lead to the intensification of the use of an existing alleged sub-standard access to the highway.

“However, the principle of the development, including its use for the storage of agricultural machinery etc, is established under the GPDO (General Permitted Development Order).

“There are likely to be vehicle movements associated with an agricultural building wherever it is located.

“Had the authors of the GPDO deemed it important and necessary, they would have included highway safety, and traffic generation as a matter for consideration for the prior approval of an agricultural building; they did not.”

“In refusing to grant prior approval for the proposed agricultural building on the grounds of highway safety, the council misdirected itself.”

He added that he had not read anything to show that prior approval should be withheld.

The appeal decision was brought up at the planning committee meeting on Thursday, February 4, and noted by the councillors.

In May 2019, an application for a 32,000 egg production unit at Upper Gwestydd, was rejected by Powys County Council’s planning committee, on highways and ecological grounds.

It was also rejected on appeal.

A previous application had also been rejected in November 2017 following a high profile campaign against it, which included a petition signed by 5,618 against the proposal.

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