Upton Park Farm proposal: council is putting our livelihoods at risk, say farmers (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Upton Park Farm proposal: council is putting our livelihoods at risk, say farmers
PLANNING chiefs were set to debate a proposal today that could effectively spell the end of Upton Park Farm.
A report from Borough of Poole officers recommends the town’s planning board nods through a proposal changing the status of land at the farm from agricultural status to what the council calls a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace, or SANG.
If agreed, the Pennington family – who have been tenant farmers for five decades – will lose almost half of their 160-acre dairy farm’s land.
Farmer Stephen Pennington told the Daily Echo: “Our tenancy is a lifelong one but the council are trying to squeeze us out. If they agree this it will mean the end of our farm.”
The Pennington family secured a lease from the Upton House Estate in the 1960s. When Poole council purchased the land in the 1980s, the Penningtons inherited new landlords.
“Now the council are telling us to sell all our 180 dairy cows,” said Stephen. “They are offering compensation but it is not enough to start again.”
Stephen’s daughter, Laura, launched a Save Upton Park Farm Facebook campaign earlier this year, and a petition with more than 500 signatures has been handed to council officials calling for the borough to abandon its plans.
However, Borough of Poole says SANGS “help to manage the impact of new development on internationally-important heathland sites by providing alternative dog walking, cycling or leisure routes.
The council’s head of planning, Stephen Thorne, said: “The proposal for Upton Park Farm to become a SANG will mean approximately 30 hectares of new accessible green space for public use will be provided.
“This will help mitigate the impact of building 10,000 additional homes in Poole between 2009 and 2026.
“The new accessible spaces will provide opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of Poole residents and visitors.
“We are currently negotiating with the tenant farmers to find a and we have no intention of denying the tenant farmers use of their homes.”
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