A planned farm manager’s house at an expanding Herefordshire dairy farm has finally been approved, a year and a half after being put forward.

The planning application was made by Phil Brooke, fourth-generation farmer at the organic Nicholson Farm, off the A44 between Leominster and Bromyard, which plans to expand significantly due to demand from its main customer, Cotteswold Dairy of Tewkesbury.

There is currently only one dwelling at the 320-acre organic farm, occupied by Mr Brooke, the other former farm buildings nearby being “no longer available to the farm”, his application said.


“Of a simple profile and traditional appearance”, the planned part-two-storey, four-bedroom house of stone, weatherboarding and slate, with four parking spaces with solar panels on the south-facing roof, would be immediately south of this.

“There is a clear need for a second person to reside at the site 24/7, mainly to assist with calving and cattle health and welfare, but also to deter and respond to security issues including thefts,” the application explained.

An encouraging pre-application meeting was held with council planners in 2021, though this led to a “significant reduction” in the size of the proposed house.


It appears the plan was then delayed over the issue of nutrient discharge, given the farm lies within the protected river Lugg catchment. This has now been overcome by an undertaking to upgrade the septic tank at a neighbouring property which, Natural England confirmed in July, enabled the development to demonstrate “nutrient neutrality”.

Noting this, planning officer Ollie Jones considered that “sufficient justification has been put forward for a secondary agricultural workers dwelling”, that the design and scale were “broadly acceptable, [and] would not harm the wider setting” despite its prominent position.

A condition of the planning approval is that the house can be occupied only by “a person solely or mainly working or last working, in the locality in agriculture or in foresty, or a widow or widower of such a person, and to any resident dependants”.