Farmer given 12 months to quit land to make way for Ilminster Canal Way development

Farmer given 12 months to quit land to make way for Ilminster Canal Way development

Farmer given 12 months to quit land to make way for Ilminster Canal Way development

First published in News This is The West Country: Photograph of the Author by

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.

Comments (2)

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10:11pm Thu 3 Apr 14

orchardman says...

It is quite remarkable that Somerset County Council is proposing to sell off prime farmland in what is a primarily agricultural county, particularly when very few other counties see the need to tread this path. In fact, as shown on a recent Countryfile programme, some are even encouraging youngsters to take up farming!. Despite her tenancy agreement, Mrs Miller is right to feel aggrieved at the situation she has been put in. It would also be most interesting to know what is really going on regarding this particular issue. Having back-tracked from Shudrick Lane to Canal Way on the development, friends of mine who live in the Shudrick area today received a pamphlet from a private developer inviting them to a presentation at the Shrubbery regarding a proposed separate development in Shudrick Lane. If this is becomes a reality then it will suit all those involved, the County Council gets a handsome pay out for Canal Way, and the landowner(s) will make a handsome amount for the land at Shudrick. There is a smell emanating from this issue which I'm sure Mrs Miller would recognise from when she's mucking out. And still Horlicks becomes even more of an eyesore!!!.
It is quite remarkable that Somerset County Council is proposing to sell off prime farmland in what is a primarily agricultural county, particularly when very few other counties see the need to tread this path. In fact, as shown on a recent Countryfile programme, some are even encouraging youngsters to take up farming!. Despite her tenancy agreement, Mrs Miller is right to feel aggrieved at the situation she has been put in. It would also be most interesting to know what is really going on regarding this particular issue. Having back-tracked from Shudrick Lane to Canal Way on the development, friends of mine who live in the Shudrick area today received a pamphlet from a private developer inviting them to a presentation at the Shrubbery regarding a proposed separate development in Shudrick Lane. If this is becomes a reality then it will suit all those involved, the County Council gets a handsome pay out for Canal Way, and the landowner(s) will make a handsome amount for the land at Shudrick. There is a smell emanating from this issue which I'm sure Mrs Miller would recognise from when she's mucking out. And still Horlicks becomes even more of an eyesore!!!. orchardman
  • Score: 13

9:14am Sun 13 Apr 14

Farcical says...

I expect the whole of Ilminster are shocked to see just how much of shudrick valley is to be developed. For those who want ski slope gardens, I am sure they will purchase with haste, and enjoy their wildlife vacuum. It will disappear for sure as the woods become a child's playground. There is not much said about the successful chicken farm / factory at shudrick being demolished. It is so successfully managed, most people don't know it exists, this constitutes food provision, but no mention in the papers , just the loss of farmland at canal way.
I expect the whole of Ilminster are shocked to see just how much of shudrick valley is to be developed. For those who want ski slope gardens, I am sure they will purchase with haste, and enjoy their wildlife vacuum. It will disappear for sure as the woods become a child's playground. There is not much said about the successful chicken farm / factory at shudrick being demolished. It is so successfully managed, most people don't know it exists, this constitutes food provision, but no mention in the papers , just the loss of farmland at canal way. Farcical
  • Score: 0

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