Planning ‘hell’ over for victorious animal lover

By <b>Connie Osborne Friday 11 July 2014 Updated: 14/07 15:34

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Buy photos » Samantha Beck celebrates finally getting planning aproval for her farm with partner Andy Findon. Picture by Marcus Mingins 2814016MMR

A LANDOWNER who faced losing her home during a two-year planning nightmare has won her battle.

Samantha Beck, who runs a rare bird conservation farm at land off the Saltway, was finally given the go-ahead to live at the site after a change in planning rules.

As the Standard reported in February, the mother of two who owns Pikes Farm failed to get permission to convert a barn into an eco-friendly cabin and build an incubator shed for birds.

She put in a second application for a temporary caravan at the site to watch and care for the 200 birds and other farm animals, but it was also turned down by Redditch Borough Council planners.

Ms Beck had no choice but to live illegally in the caravan - which had no running water - along with her partner and son to look after the birds, which could die if the electricity cut out.

She was facing enforcement action from the council which could have left her homeless and with a £20,000 bill.

But new regulations were introduced on April 6 stating an agricultural building used before March 20 could be converted into a residential property, as long as it was not bigger than the existing structure. It also could not create a noise impact, contamination risk or pose any highways implications.

As a result the family were granted approval last Tuesday (July 1) becoming the first family in the borough to benefit from the new rules.

“It is just fantastic news, “ she said.

“We have gone through hell and back, we have been physically and emotionally drained and we felt like common criminals for wanting to do something good.

“Now we can continue with the farm and keep an eye on the animals and live here. It’s a weight off our shoulders and we are just so thankful for all those who did support us.

“We fought this all the way and we cannot wait to just enjoy our time here.”

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