ONE of the most startling comments of the week so far came in what appeared to be a run of the mill meeting of Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee.

During a discussion about rival proposals for new homes in Barton submitted by two different farms, committee member Cllr Jamie Cameron declared: “Farms should not be in villages any longer. People don’t like the smell, they don’t like the tractors, they don’t like anything. The right place for a farm is in the countryside. Villages are for commuters and for people to have their homes and they don’t want cows mooing, smells and flies.”

The obvious counter argument is that if people don’t want to live near a farm, they shouldn’t buy a house near one. And as for villages being for commuters – perhaps that is partly the reason why so many rural communities have had their hearts ripped out in recent years, with young people who want to stay in the area where they were born being priced out of the housing market.

Cllr Cameron should remember he represents a rural ward containing many farmers who want nothing more than to go about their daily business, as they have been doing for generations. Some of these farms will be in villages, some will be in open countryside, but most will operate with respect for their neighbours and expect the same in return.

Instead of talking about moving farms, Cllr Cameron should be encouraging better understanding of why villages must continue to be sustainable working environments.