A COUPLE have been given permission to live on the site of their flourishing horticultural business after showing councillors it was essential for them to live there.

Sam Smith and his wife had applied to Cornwall Council for temporary planning permission to have a mobile home on the site of their business in Harrowbarrow.

The application went before the council’s east sub-area planning committee where planning officers had recommended it should be refused. They said there was not sufficient justification for the mobile home to be located at the site and would mean a new dwelling being created in open countryside.

However, Mr and Mrs Smith explained to councillors that they wanted to see their business thrive and said that if it did not work in the three years then they would leave the site. Mr Smith explained that his family relocated their small horticultural business to the site from Devon last year. He said the “successful business” grows and sells market vegetables and said that since starting they had doubled their output and “struggled to meet demand”.

They are now set to have chickens on the site with a delivery of 100 chicks due shortly. In addition, they also have sheep on site along with some polytunnels and a number of beds. He said: “The need for temporary accommodation on site, we feel, is now urgent. During the week I am often there at 5am harvesting and up to 1am protecting our high value crops from pests. The need to live on site will intensify.”

Mr Smith said that not being able to live on site had disrupted his young family and it would be better if they could live there.

He explained that the mobile home they want to use would be located in an agricultural barn and so would have no visual impact on the area.

And he explained that if the property was successful then it would be likely that he will apply for permission for a permanent dwelling, with an agricultural tie, on the site.

All the councillors who spoke on the application were supportive of the couple and their attempts to establish a new business.

John Fitter, Independent ward councillor for St Columb Minor & Colan, said: “Everything has to start somewhere. This is a very diverse business with the chickens, the sheep and polytunnels.”

He added: “I personally feel we should be supporting this dream, or experiment or this business. Myself, personally, I think we should allow a temporary three-year permission, to allow this gentleman and his lady wife to show that if you want to do something you can do it.”

Cllr Fitter proposed that permission be granted but said that there should be a condition that the mobile home be located in the building and not placed anywhere on the site.

Adam Paynter, Independent for Launceston North and North Petherwin, seconded the motion saying: “It is difficult to build an agricultural business from scratch. Work has begun, there are plans in place and a business plan has been supplied.”