A TWYFORD couple’s farming dream is under threat from planners.
Trevor and Ruth Wyatt bought a rundown poultry unit with mobile home near Winchester and aim to raise chickens for the pet trade, as well as selling eggs to the public.
Trevor, 49, and Ruth, 45, have been living at the 21-acre Hare Farm off Main Road, for 18 months.
But city council planners are unconvinced the business is viable and officers are recommending their bid for a three-year licence for a mobile home be rejected. They say the business does not need to be run from the farm itself.
Trevor, a former photocopying engineer, hopes the council will give them time to show that the business can be viable.
“This is our dream, our passion. It is what we want to do.”
Ruth said her interest stemmed from taking on some rescued battery hens. “I enjoy having the birds. I want to help other people enjoy their animals. I wanted something that I knew I could do well.”
The couple sold the house in Locks Heath, cashed in insurance, sold their cars to pay £325,000 for the smallholding.
They now have around 750 chickens as well as ducks, geese, quail and ten sheep. All the birds are free range.
Trevor said this was not an attempt to build a house in the countryside. “We are quite happy living in the mobile home. We will never build a house here. We will never make enough money. That is not the be-all and end-all. The mobile home is comfortable enough.”
Villagers are overwhelmingly supportive with scores of expressions of support logged with the city council.
Trevor said: “No-one has objected. We are not doing anything offensive, making smells or noise.
“It is a matter of making the farm viable and to fit in with the community. We want to integrate the business with the three villages of Twyford, Colden Common and Shawford, with the schools.
“All we want is a little bit of leeway from the council, a three-year temporary licence to show we can develop the business,” he said.
A city council spokesman said: “Planning officers are in discussion with the applicants and have advised them to withdraw their application at this time so that they can develop a stronger business case.”