25 February 2000
Farmers fight development proposals

By Nigel Burnham

FARMERS are fighting proposed developments which they believe will be “disastrous” for their communities and their livelihoods if given the go-ahead.

Villagers in Northumberland are battling proposals from the Duke of Northumberland to build 15 exclusive “executive homes” near a local farm.

They claim that the “Brookside-type development” would ruin the approach to the village of Chatton, near Wooler, and adversely affect farmer Jim Douglas.

Mr Douglas, who rents Mill Hill Farm from the Dukes Northumberland Estates company, will lose sheep pens and a silage pit if the scheme goes ahead.

He said: “I think the houses would be too close to my farm.

“Im afraid that children from the estate may well wander on to my land and could get injured.”

Houses would be filled with commuters who would not like the smell of a working farm, said Mr Douglas.

A spokesman for the Duke said the viability of Mr Douglass farm would not be affected by the proposal.

Berwick councillors now decide on the application.

Meanwhile, East Yorkshire farmers want to stop a scheme for a holiday leisure complex on the site of a former quarry at Brigham, near Driffield.

The farmers believe the development would lead to the urbanisation of an unspoilt rural area, put farm jobs at risk and “swamp” the area with tourists.

The application was given the go-ahead by East Riding of Yorkshire Council in Beverley on Thursday (24 February).

Farmers wife Joan Foreman, who chairs the local parish council, said: “Land on all sides of the site is used for the spreading of pig slurry, which we feel will lead to complaints by the visitors about smells.”

Elsewhere, farmer Brian Lazenby, who has rented Hill Park Farm, Thackley, near Bradford, since 1954, says he faces ruin because of a local development.

Bradford Council, Mr Lazenbys landlord, wants to create sports pitches for a new 9 million school on his farm.

He said: “The 10 acres theyre taking is my best land.

“I dont see how I can make a living here after this.”