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Parents to create farm business near Grantham for autistic son

An Ingoldsby couple are to create a diversified farming business for their son who is autistic and has other special needs.

Tim and Julie Arnold plan to create the venture on Humby Road, next to the cemetery, which they would open to other children with special needs and would benefit from therapy that would come from feeding and caring for animals, as well as growing plants.

South Kesteven District Council has just granted planning permission for the farm, for their son Sebastian, which would eventually have 18 cows, 30 alpacas, eight pigs, 300 chickens and 125 turkeys, plus a worm farm. There would also be a Christmas tree plantation.

Tim says he has been in a variety of businesses over 25 years. They were outside agriculture and forestry, in marketing and consultancy, but he has transferable skills he would use in creating the new venture.

He told the council: “It is in no way a hobby farm. I wish to pass it on to my son, so that he will be set up for life.”

His application to South Kesteven District Council says he would use his marketing skills in selling produce from a farm shop, online, to local farmers markets and through door-to-door deliveries.

He has up to £200,000 ready to invest in the business, which he says will become profitable within four years.

The business plan submitted said 18 miniature cattle would be kept, which though costing £1,000 a head, produce much meat for their size, as well as milk.

Within four years, some 30 pigs would be ready for the table every year and 125 turkeys would be sold, largely to the nearby village.

Some 2,000 Christmas trees would also planted on a half acre plot, taking ten years to grow to size.

Villagers had opposed the plans fearing impact from the buildings, the development being converted to residential and a lack of detailed plans. They also feared smell from the worm farm, which was to have been in an open pit.

Tim assured the council about their concerns and the worm farm will now be in 1,100 litre bins with sealable tops to stop the spread of any smells. The worms would eat manure that was produced on the farm, who would produce compost for use on the farm. The worms would also be sold for the fishing market.

An officers report concluded that with planned mitigation, the proposed development “would not lead to any significant adverse impact on the character of the area and would also not lead to significant adverse impacts on the amenities of neighbours.”

The scheme could also create jobs and help support a prosperous rural economy.

Tim, who lives at the nearby Rectory, told the Journal: “I was pleased at the collaborative way my architect Steve Dunn was able to work with both the planners and Pete Wilson of the authority’s environmental health department.

“The changes we made at Mr Wilson’s suggestion will safeguard the environment – and, significantly, save us time and money. A superb outcome for all.”

The 57-year-old added: “This is a sympathetic development that acknowledges Ingoldsby’ s 1,000 years of farming tradition with a modern approach to creating jobs.”

And he warned: “Ingoldsby is a small village that will shrivel and die unless we bring prosperity to the area. The status quo is not an option – particularly in the aftermath of Brexit. So even a limited development like Cemetery Farm will aid Lincolnshire’s economy. Every bit helps.”


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