16 November 2001
Flying school farmer faces eviction

By FWi staff

A NORFOLK 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) near Norwich and planning permission for her farmhouse granted on the condition that the occupier was wholly engaged in agriculture.

In addition to the farm, Mrs Mason owns a flying school at the citys airport and a livery stable. Her land has an airstrip that has been used for 30 years by a local flying club.

But Broadland District Council has said Mrs Mason was not complying with a planning regulation restricting occupancy to someone wholly engaged in agriculture.

It is considering whether to take legal action to force compliance with the agricultural restriction on the farmhouse. Eviction is one option lawyers are investigating.

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 this goes ahead it would put a questionmark over the future of many farms with similar restrictions 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.