OBJECTIONS have flooded in against a couple’s bid to live on agricultural land on the outskirts of Fordingbridge, and run a farm.
More than 100 people have written to New Forest District Council about Sophia Fletcher and Nick Crowe’s mobile home, sited off Marl Lane and Puddleslosh Lane.
About 90 of them are objecting to the caravan, which the pair say they need to site there for three years to get a garlic and goats business off the ground.
But locals say they are fed up after a flurry of applications to live on rural land in that area, and will fight any application that is not purely for farming with no residential use.
They say parcels of land in the area have been sold cheaply as agricultural land, but new owners are being led to believe they can live there temporarily if they run a farm.
And they say if one of the applications is approved it will set a precedent that could see mobile homes popping up all over a very rural spot used by walkers and riders.
One objector, Laura Skelton, who lives on Marl Lane, said it is “an important green space for Fordingbridge, used by ramblers, cyclists and dog walkers” and says the couple’s “business plan does not offer enough justification or evidence that an ‘agricultural worker’ should live on site”.
Gordon Greenock, of Marl Lane, said: “I fully support the use of this land for agricultural practices, farming, animal husbandry, and the establishment of small agricultural businesses.
“It has been a joy to local residents to see two young people working the land and establishing an enterprise.
“What I object to is the use of this land for residential buildings, and I do not approve of the retrospective planning application.”
But Gillian Winter, of Gregory's Avenue, in Salisbury, said: “I can understand the locals' frustration at no longer being able to walk in these areas, especially after having done so for such a long period of time.
“In fact, the same happened in Salisbury on a large patch of land at the mews.
“However, although it may be disappointing, this land has been legally purchased by the couple.”
She added: “They are not living on the property.
“This caravan is being used for agricultural storage, and if they choose to request a change of purpose for the caravan then that is their choice and I can't see it affecting locals. These people clearly are not ‘squatters’.”
The application is scheduled for discussion at NFDC on Wednesday.