A COUPLE’S plan to create a Good Life style small holding has caused a stink for villagers who object to living near two pigs.
Andrew and Liz Charles have dreamed of having their own land to grow vegetables and live a sustainable life for more than 30 years.
In 2011, they thought they had found the perfect site, a field on the outskirts of Witton-le-Wear, where they plan to grow vegetables, plant an orchard and reduce their carbon footprint.
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But their plan to use two pigs on part of the three-acre land for six months has met with outrage from villagers.
More than 80 people wrote to Durham County Council’s planning committee to object to the pigs, despite the authority having no control over whether the pigs live there or not.
The couple applied for permission to build a cabin, storage shed and two polytunnels, but as the land is designated for agricultural use, they do not need permission to house pigs in a temporary shelter.
At the council’s planning committee in Spennymoor today (Thursday), councillors were told residents’ concerns over the two pigs and a dispute over access to the field were irrelevant to their decision on the buildings.
Brewis Henderson, chairman of Witton-le-Wear Parish Council, said all 530 residents were opposed to the two pigs living in the field.
He claimed “inhaling pig vapour” would render a nearby rail platform “unusable”, adding: “Witton-le-Wear is extremely attractive and we want to keep it that way.”
Councillor Henderson said: “If it were only two pigs that would be one thing, but two pigs can quickly become more.”
Mr Charles said the pigs would be too young to breed and they would provide a natural way of digging over the land before the couple plant vegetables.
He said there would be two pigs for six months this year, with the possibility of two more next year depending on the quality of the land.
Mr Charles also said two pigs living in the open air will create neither a smell nor slurry issues.
Keith Davidson, councillor for Chester-le-Street South, said according to agricultural guidelines, 32 pigs could be kept on the site without the need for extra permission.
Councillors unanimously supported the planned buildings after officers said they would not damage the view of the area.
Florence Coulter, who lives on Railway Terrace which leads to the field, said there was no vehicular access allowed to the site, although Mr Charles said he did have a right of way.
Planning officer Adrian Caines said vehicular access would not be considered necessary for the buildings.