Bid to turn barn into garage for farm machinery is approved

Plans to convert a barn so it can also be used as a garage that specialises in repairing farm machinery, have been approved by councillors.

The building at Lledrod
The building at Lledrod

An application by David Thomas to change the use of agricultural land and a building on land at Lledrod, north of Llansilin, was discussed at a meeting of Powys County Council’s planning committee on Wednesday.

Councillor for the area, Aled Davies, had “called in” the application to be decided by the committee.

But due to Councillor Davies having a prejudicial conflict of interest, Councillor Peter Lewis who represents the neighbouring ward of Llanfyllin spoke on the application in his place.

Councillor Lewis said: “I believe that rural businesses are the backbone of our communities in Powys and must be supported.”

He stressed the need to keeping farm machinery maintained especially during times of increased work, such as harvest.

This led to him questioning one of the conditions that restricted opening hours to 8am-6pm during the week and 8am-1pm on weekends.

Councillor Lewis also read out by a statement by Alison Gallagher objecting to the proposal on behalf of her mother who lives nearby.

He explained that Mrs Gallagher was concerned about noise and fires at the site.

Mrs Gallagher wanted to exclude weekend working and said there should be landscaping to screen the site from her mother’s property, and wanted to ensure the site would not be allowed to change its class of use to an industrial one.

Applicant Mr Thomas told councillors that he had “no wish” to upset any neighbours.

“The granting of planning consent will allow us to move forward with our business, which provides a valuable asset to the local farming committee,” he said.

Agent Richard Corbett said that planning permission for the agricultural building had been given in 2016, and that repairing machinery on the site had only “recently started”.

Mr Corbett explained that due to family circumstance using another site for the repairs business “was no longer an option”.

Councillor Elwyn Vaughan said: “The wording needs to be amended to take into account the seasonality nature of the work and allow for machinery to be fixed in the evening and not have a blanket 6pm cut-off point.”

Councillor Gareth Pugh stressed he had reservations on the time limit issue as “8am to 6pm is office hours” and had no basis in the “agricultural world reality”.

Planning professional lead officer Peter Morris said that the applicant had not produced a noise assessment with the application and the time restriction would “protect neighbours”,

Mr Morris said: “If the business does want to operate outside those hours, I recommend they come back and discuss that with us.

“But we’d want the evidence and the noise assessment report to support any amendment to working hours.”

Councillor Vaughan said he was happy to propose the application go to a vote and Councillor Pugh seconded this.

The committee unanimously approved the application.

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