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Could proposed Gladman Homes development kill off 200-year-old farm?

PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 February 2017 | UPDATED: 08:42 08 February 2017

Andrew Sheppy, on his farm in Congresbury,  is unhappy about a proposed housing development nearby. Picture: Jeremy Long

Andrew Sheppy, on his farm in Congresbury, is unhappy about a proposed housing development nearby. Picture: Jeremy Long

(C)2016 Jeremy Long / JCLPhotography, all rights reserved

A North Somerset scientist and farmer fears his livelihood will be permanently destroyed by plans to build dozens of new homes in a field close to his site.

Andrew Sheppy took on the management of Cobthorn Farm, in Congresbury, in 1976, although the farm has been a part of his family for almost 200 years.

It is operated as a conservation breeding farm and is home to the National Poultry Collection, an internationally-recognised centre for the conservation breeding of genetic resources.

Mr Sheppy, who has won numerous awards for his achievements, founded the not-for-profit Cobthorn Trust conservation organisation, which is based at the farm.

However, Mr Sheppy fears his hard work could be eradicated and his farm put out of business if Gladman Homes’ bid to build 50 homes off nearby Wrington Lane is approved by North Somerset Council.

Mr Sheppy, aged 67, told the Mercury: “We feel like we are in the grips of a vice coming at us from all angles. If the development is approved it would be absolutely heartbreaking. It is my life’s work.”

In its planning statement, Gladman claims the development would respect nearby land uses and would reflect village needs.

The statement said: “The accommodation mix would reflect the needs and aspirations of the local community.

“The development blocks and access network would integrate sensitively with the adjacent settlement edge, with the housing layout designed to respect the adjacent properties and land uses along the site boundaries.”

However, Mr Sheppy said if the plan goes ahead, it would cause problems as the new houses would be close to his poultry pens, where more than 100 crowing cockerels live.

He added: “There would only be a fence’s width between the houses and the poultry pens and as it is downwind, any sound would carry down into the houses.

“If the development goes ahead it will render it impossible to run the business.”

* Councillors will determine the fate of the Gladman Homes application at a meeting this afternoon (Wednesday). Pick up a copy of next week’s Mercury for a full report into the decision.

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