A farmer looking to help keep his business afloat by opening up a caravan storage facility on greenbelt land has had his hopes dashed after Solihull planners refused his application.
The decision whether to grant permission for the new facility in Friday Lane, Barston, split the council’s planning committee last week, with some members supporting the scheme and others fighting to protect the greenbelt site.
Richard Cobb, acting as agent for the applicant, said the facility would be used for storing primarily touring caravans and leisure vehicles.
He said the site could provide a valuable service and there had already been interest from potential customers.
Councillor John Windmill (Lib Dem, Olton) argued there is a demand for this particular business.
“This would solve the problem of large caravans being placed on the front gardens of people’s properties, obscuring views. There is little or no opportunity outside the greenbelt for this type of business. We also have to look at the future of farming.”
Coun Alan Martin (Con, Bickenhill) added: “I have a lot of sympathy for farmers who have suffered, particularly in the dairy industry.”
But fellow ward councillor Jim Ryan (Con) described the greenbelt as ‘precious’ and said it needed to be defended.