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PLANNING ROW: Farm faces battle to keep popular milk vending machines

PLANNING ROW: Farm faces battle to keep popular milk vending machines

Image: LDRS

A Flintshire dairy farm is facing a battle to keep its popular milk vending machines after falling foul of planning rules.

Customers have queued in their droves since the self-serve machines, which offer bottled milk and milkshakes, were installed at Mynydd Mostyn farm in Trelogan, near Holywell, at the start of this year.

The roadside attraction, which is open 24 hours a day, has proven to be a huge success for farmers Einion and Elliw Jones, with the milk provided by the family’s 280-strong herd of Jersey-cross milking cows.

However, the future of the venture is now in doubt after it was revealed the machines and shed they are held in were put on land which forms part of the Mostyn Hall estate without permission.

The pair had tried to argue to Flintshire Council that planning permission was not required as it was in fitting with the wider farm.

But officials from the local authority have denied a request for a lawful development certificate to be issued in respect of the machines due to the scale of the milk vending business and lack of adequate parking.

In a report, planning officer Claire Morter said: “The local planning authority are satisfied that the activity being undertaken was initially planned to be linked to the main farm enterprise.

“However, the scale of the operation is now such that although the milk is generated by the farm, the retail use and associated engineering operations required to sustain the use are entirely separate to the farmstead.

“The site is only accessible by vehicle, and at peak times it appears that the provision of parking is not adequate. The site is highly unsustainable.

“The retail activity is on a large scale with many customers travelling by car, to the site. The use is available 24 hours a day.

“For the reasons outlined above I am concerned that due to the level of activity the business has a very distinct and separate character to the existing farm use.”

The officer concluded the development should not be classed as lawful development, which means enforcement action could be taken against Mr and Mrs Jones.

The business previously made headlines during lockdown in January, when police told customers to leave the site or risk being fined for breaching Covid rules.

The move was criticised by the two farmers, who said social distancing measures were followed and that customers were from neighbouring villages.

Mrs Jones told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they are currently deciding whether to appeal the council’s decision.

She said: “We are proud of our diversification here at Mynydd Mostyn farm.

“We will be seeking advice from the Welsh Assembly with regards to the council’s decision.”

 

Words: Liam Randall, Local Democracy Reporter


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