A couple in Mid Devon has been permitted to live in a field for three years with their 30 alpacas.
Mr and Mrs J Holland applied to the council for a temporary rural workers’ caravan at Park Meadow, Pennymoor, as their alpacas need constant monitoring.
The district council is allowing them to share the field with their furry companions while the pair build up a rural business near Tiverton, despite objection from neighbours.
Mr Holland said: “The increase in traffic will be very minimal. By living on the site it means we do not have to move to and fro as often.”
Twenty residents and Cruwys Morchard Bishop Parish Council are pushing back on the decision, arguing the 11-acre site is too small for livestock and shouldn’t support a dwelling.
Cllr Rachel Gilmour said: “The last thing we want is a tourist destination that is being presented to us as an agricultural business.”
The Hollands have been keeping alpacas since 2005 as a hobby at their home in Gloucestershire.
Now they want to expand their herd and business to a commercial level in Devon, planners have been told.
Residents and the council claim the entrance to the land is a very narrow lane, and the proposal would mean larger vehicles coming in and out.
They fear the agricultural building will be a “significant visual intrusion” and tarnish countryside views.
Councillors on the planning committee were also concerned with the proposed animal husbandry or breeding courses, which the owners say would be limited to four a year with four to six participants camping on site, but could grow into a bigger business in the future.
Mr Holland said the plans have already been revised because of local concerns such as shorter barns, solar panels on the ground, and a conscious effort to increase biodiversity.
Currently, the couple have been going to the field two or three times a day to keep an eye on the alpacas. Residing on the field would limit travel and keep the alpacas as safe as possible during breeding.
Cllr Polly Colthorpe said she had called the application to committee because it was “very contentious” and work had already started on site which had “raised eyebrows” locally.
One concern was highway safety as the couple had to reopen a historical access point onto the field to get a caravan onto the land.
Officers said this access had since been closed up and a planning condition would be that it could not used with the business.
Mr and Mrs Holland will also be asked to remove the temporary caravan and reinstate the land after three years, or they can apply for a permanent dwelling if they have been able to demonstrate their business has been successful.
Credit: Alison Stephenson / Local Democratic Reporting Services