16 November 2001

Flying school enterprise brings threat of eviction

By David Green

A FARMER who also runs a flying school and livery stables claims she is being threatened with eviction because she earns some money outside agriculture.

Kay Mason farms 34ha (85 acres) on the outskirts of Norwich. The farmhouse was built about 10 years ago after planning permission was granted on the condition that it was occupied by someone wholly engaged in agriculture.

Mrs Mason runs the farm. She is also the proprietor of a flying school based at the citys airport and a livery stable. Her land has its own airstrip and has been used for more than 30 years by a local flying club.

Broadland District Council said Mrs Mason was not complying with a planning regulation which restricts occupancy of her farmhouse to someone wholly engaged in agriculture. It is considering whether to take legal action to force compliance with the agricultural restriction on the farmhouse.

One of the four options under scrutiny is for the authoritys lawyers to seek eviction. A Broadland council spokesman said: "There is no dispute that there is a planning contravention. We have to decide what action is taken in response."

But Mrs Mason said: "If such action goes ahead it would put a question mark over the future of many other farms which have similar restrictions and where the farmers are trying to diversify. In the present climate it would be impossible for any farmer to earn a living entirely from running this holding."

Although Mrs Mason owns her farm, tenant farmers face similar problems. The Tenant Farmers Association has called on the government to change its definition of agriculture so more farmers can diversify (News, Nov 9). &#42

In a spin… Diversification restrictions are unfair, says Kay Mason.