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Bury St Edmunds: Owners of petting farm drum up support for consent to stay open

10:24 20 August 2014

The Amelia-Jane Trust fun day at Nowton Farm Shop. Adele Boothroyd feeds a lamb held by Dave Muskett.

The Amelia-Jane Trust fun day at Nowton Farm Shop. Adele Boothroyd feeds a lamb held by Dave Muskett.

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Many people have shown their support for an animal petting farm and shop – which does not have the appropriate planning consent – by signing a petition.

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Nowton Farm, at the Olde Farm Shop at Low Green, Nowton, has been drumming up support for its operation ahead of a planning decision by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

The business is seeking retrospective planning consent to be able to carry on as a petting farm and shop, as well as some new additions to the site. An online petition, launched by Dave Muskett of Nowton Farm, is calling on support from the public to help them get the go-ahead. The petition has been signed by 499 people, though many of these are living outside the UK.

Mr Muskett said: “We are in the process of getting the planning permission sorted for everything we are doing at Nowton Farm. This will enable us to continue the good work we do and allow us to complete many of the projects we still want to add; including toilets, tea rooms, more enclosures and to fence off the entire site, giving us much more grazing for the larger animals.”

In a letter of objection to the council, Nowton resident Ben Fisher said the site looked “hopelessly run down”, and he questioned what kind of animals would be kept for rehoming.

In a response, Mr Muskett said, unfortunately, due to cost, Nowton Farm had had to accept old or second-hand and “home-made” hutches and buildings. He added: “The welfare of the animals is of paramount importance to us, and we aim to replace/improve these as time goes on.”

He said Nowton Farm’s rehoming would be confined to small animals, like guinea pigs and rabbits, with an occasional chicken rehoming day.

A message of support on our social media website Streetlife read: “My granddaughter always asks to visit your site when she is with us. She was so disappointed on her last visit to find it closed. What issues have the council got with your little farm? It looks to me as there can be no problems with access, the animals all look well looked after.”

Nowton Farm has been closed while the planning issues are resolved.

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