A council decision to refuse planning permission for a farm worker’s house near the Powys border has been upheld.

Shropshire Council blocked construction of a two-bedroom house for a full time worker at Upper Farm, near Clun, because they said the applicant had not demonstrated an “essential need” for another employee to live full-time on the farm.

And although Government planning inspectors disagreed with part of the ruling, they dismissed an appeal from Mr Shenton Gwilliam on the basis that he had not demonstrated that alternative accommodation could not be found nearby.

In their original application, Mr Gwillam had stated that accommodation for a permanent farm worker was required to allow another person to remain on site to respond to urgent issues with farm’s main business, a 180,000 bird chicken unit which produces 1.4 million chickens per year.

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“In the interest of animal welfare for a 180,000-bird poultry unit and a flock of 350 ewes it is essential that two full-time workers live on site,” wrote planning agent Thomas Ashton in a statement.

“The farm does not own any other residential properties and there are no buildings on the farm that are suitable for conversion. There are no suitable properties that are affordable in the immediate vicinity and as such a new dwelling is being proposed to meet the needs of the farm business.”

However in a decision issued in 2023, Shropshire Council said they did not believe there was a need for a second worker to be resident on the site, and that the proposed development would be “out of sight and sound” of the broiler unit the resident would be responsible for monitoring.

Planning officers added that they believed a stable block on the site may also be suitable for conversion to residential use.

And while the Planning Inspectorate disagreed with elements of that decision, they said alternative accommodation could potentially be found locally.


“A functional need for an additional rural worker to live on site has been demonstrated,” said planning inspector Rachel Hall. 

“However, it has not been demonstrated that there is an absence of suitable and available alternative accommodation that could meet this need.

“The likely availability of alternative accommodation undermines the justification of the need for an agricultural dwelling in the countryside.

“The proposed development would be within the open countryside where there is a presumption against new residential development. The proposal would be contrary to the development plan as a whole, and there are no material considerations that outweigh this conflict.”