A planned new house for a young farming family at a prominent Herefordshire spot has been rejected for being “in the wrong place”.

The applicant Stephen Rogers told Herefordshire Council’s planning committee last week that his family had farmed at Foxhalls Farm near Much Marcle for over a century, that he had “overstayed his tenure under his parents’ roof”, yet wanted still to be “on-hand 24-seven”.

“But with astronomic local property prices, purchasing a home was not feasible,” he said.


His chosen site for the “modest, traditional“ new three-bedroom house was a small elevated field on poor soil, yet already accessible and within a three-minute walk of the farm.

A broadcasting tower “already dominates the ridgeline”, compared to which the house would be glimpsed only fleetingly by few passers-by, and would be made less conspicuous still by new planting, he said.

Siting of a carport and the external materials had already been changed in response to officer feedback, he said, pointing out that the parish council and 12 public submissions supported the plan, with none objecting.


Mr Rogers said he, his partner and young child, accompanying him at the meeting, “are in an incredibly difficult position and we implore members to approve the application”.

But planning officer Simon Rowles had already recommended refusing the bid because its “isolated, skyline location… would cause significant harm to the natural, tree-covered character of Marcle Ridge”, and it “failed to safeguard” adjacent mature trees.

According to local and national planning policy, farm workers’ dwellings “are to be sited within the [farm] unit or in relation to other dwellings”, he pointed out.

But appearing to hold out the possibility of a revised application being accepted, Mr Rowles said: “The degree of landscape and visual harm could be meaningfully reduced through the use of an alternative site that is more closely related to the farmstead.”

Hereford Times:

Following a site visit by committee members, Coun Felicity Norman agreed that it would be “extremely visible in the landscape, with all the problems that leads to”, while siting it closer to the other farm buildings would also be “more accessible and useful”. Councillors Yolande Watson and Polly Andrews agreed.

But Coun Clare Davies thought it was “a fantastic place to build a house”, and ward councillor Barry Durkin said it was “designed to look like a barn and to blend in with the landscape”.

However, the committee voted six to three against the proposal, with one abstention.