Saga over smelly farms in North Yorkshire village to rumble on as plan for 50 homes is submitted

A bizarre saga in a village featuring two farms which have repeatedly been criticised for foul smells is to continue after a fresh plan for a larger housing estate on one of the farms was lodged.

Rose Villa Farm in Barton

Some residents of Barton, near Darlington, have expressed dismay over Rose Villa dairy farm's latest application to build 50 homes on the site as it could further delay relocating the farm away from Wells Lane.

Villagers have long complained about the emissions of hydrogen sulphide from the farm's slurry tank and in 2015 an online petition was launched in the hope of tackling the farm's "negative effect on our quality of life".

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Hopes of the move were raised in July 2018 when Rose Villa Farm beat nearby pig farm The Ashes - which has also been condemned for foul smells - in a battle to build 35 houses.

Planning applications are normally considered on their own individual merits, but because the farms were having their schemes considered at the same time, and officers said to approve both would overdevelop the village, the Rose Villa Farm scheme was granted as it was judged to bring greater public benefits.

The planning applications sparked a debate which drew widespread attention over whether farms should remain located in villages, given the apparent conflicts between commercial operations and residential amenity.

However, last month, as councillors rejected The Ashes farm's latest bid to build houses there on the grounds new housing would swamp the village, they said it was disappointing Rose Villa Farm had not seen any houses developed.

In documents submitted to Richmondshire District Council, agents for Rose Villa Farm said in 2018 planners had left both farm schemes with no option but to present schemes for 35 homes, irrespective of the sites’ capability of providing additional homes, to comply with their policies.

Rose Villa Farm's agents claim the council's approach moved the consideration away from the actual site merits and ability to make the most efficient use of land.

The planning papers state the Rose Villa Farm was aware of opposition to its smells and its owners want to remain dairy farmers at a new location, away from Barton.

They state: "The scheme for 50 dwellings will make the effective use of land. This is not to say the dwellings will be crammed onto the site. The density of development is still low and comparable with the more attractive built up areas of Barton."

It is understood the parish council is anxious to get some sort of development in the village to help secure key services and to get Rose Villa Farm moved.

However, some residents believe 50 new homes would overwhelm the village and create traffic issues on narrow lanes.