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A FAMILY claim they are being forced out of their farm as council bosses look to take one-third of their land away to free up space for the proposed Ilminster Canal Way development.

Somerset County Council served Christina Miller, of Coldharbour Farm, Donyatt, with 12 months’ notice on 35 acres of land south of Canal Way.

Dairy farmer Mrs Miller, pictured above, who lives with husband James, and children Laura, seven, Toby, five, and Bella, three, rents 120 acres from the County Farm Estate.

If she loses the land and the council can’t find her more fields she says the farm will not be financially viable and she would be forced out.

Mrs Miller said: “There’s nowhere for us to move to – we’ve put a lot of money into the business.

“We’d be left homeless and bankrupt, and it would cause the children, who will all be at Greenfylde School by then, a lot of distress.”

The fields Mrs Miller looks set to lose are next to Canal Way, running along to the doctors’ surgeries.

As the News reported two weeks ago, the area is earmarked for 315 homes after South Somerset District Council went back to its original idea of Canal Way as part of its Local Plan instead of plans to build homes in Shudrick Lane.

A final decision on the Canal Way development is not expected to be made by an inspector until June, and Mrs Miller said she feels the county council has pre-empted this decision.

She said: “I feel they’ve pushed it through. They won’t talk to me, and it’s pretty desperate and really worrying.”

Cllr Linda Vijeh, who represents Ilminster on the county council, said: “I think the county council has jumped the gun with this decision.

“There needs to be consideration for the impact decisions have on individuals and the community as a whole.”

A county council spokesman said they have been in contact with Mrs Miller for a number of years and have explained the terms of her tenancy agreement.

He said: “This outlined that part of the agricultural land at Coldharbour Farm could be the subject of future residential development.

“Under the terms of tenancy agreements we need to give at least 12 months’ notice on land that has a possibility of being developed, and this has now been given to the tenant.

“The notice given doesn’t relate to the farmhouse or the buildings.