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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

'They're making a straw mountain out of a molehill': Farmer hits back at 'selfish' villagers who called him a 'bully' for building 30ft wall of hay next to their £500,000 homes in planning row

  • Villagers claim farmer Richard Barton deliberately dumped hay bales on a truck outside their properties 
  • Some 30 tons of hay were piled on trailers behind several £500,000 properties in Ockbrook, Derbyshire
  • Homeowners fear the hay could pose a dangerous fire risk or topple over and destroy their gardens
  • Mr Barton said he had 'done nothing wrong' and residents were 'making a straw mountain out of a molehill'
A farmer has hit back at wealthy villagers who accused him of being 'bullying and intimidating' for dumping a 30ft wall of hay bales next to their homes.  
Homeowners in Ockbrook, Derbyshire, claim Richard Barton left 30 tons of hay on trailers in a field adjacent to several £500,000 detached properties.
They believe they were 'put there deliberately' after his planning application to run a waste processing site at Carr Hill Farm was rejected.
When approached this afternoon, Mr Barton said he had 'done nothing wrong' and residents were 'making a straw mountain out of a molehill.'
Helen Shaw, 50, and husband Peter, 55, with neighbours Andrew Dale, 61 and wife Gillian, 59, who claim they can see nothing but hay bales from their garden
Helen Shaw, 50, and husband Peter, 55, with neighbours Andrew Dale, 61 and wife Gillian, 59, who claim they can see nothing but hay bales from their garden
According to residents in the upmarket village, farmer Richard Barton is refusing to speak to them
According to residents in the upmarket village, farmer Richard Barton is refusing to speak to them
Mr and Mrs Shaw believe they were deliberately targeted after the farmer's planning application was refused 
Mr and Mrs Shaw believe they were deliberately targeted after the farmer's planning application was refused 
This picture shows the imposing hay bales at the back of the Dales' garden in Ockbrook, Derbyshire
This picture shows the imposing hay bales at the back of the Dales' garden in Ockbrook, Derbyshire
Mr Barton added: 'Tactics? I'm a farmer. It's got nothing to do with planning application for a waste processing site. Where am I supposed to put my bales.
'They are selfish - all they think about is themselves. All they want to see is green land but I don't even get that view and its my farm.
'I've got my property here, I can't put them on my drive because there's no space - I got sheds in the way too.
'There's a dual carriageway on the other side I can't put them. They're making a straw mountain out of a molehill.
'I put them in the middle of the field and they complained about that and the council told me to move them. Now I've moved them they're complaining again.
'All they've done for the past few years is try and portray me some horrible neighbour and horrible person.' 
Resident Peter Shaw, 55, said the bales were stacked behind his house last Thursday.
Mr Shaw, who works in the motoring trade, moved into the home in 2004 with his wife Helen, 50.
He fears the bales are a potential fire risk and is urging Mr Barton, 44, to remove them.
He said: 'The farmer won't speak to you, I have tried. He's just a bully. I truly believe it is just something we are going to have to live with now.
'I have contact everyone and anyone that I possibly can and nothing seems to getting done about it.
'It feels as though there is one rule for one person and another rule for others. It's an eyesore - I'm not sure they are even stored correctly.
'He's put 30 tonnes on a trailer. First, the lorries came and they were full of hay bales and he put them in place one by one. So we've got three in a row.
'More and more bales were put on top - there might be a row of seven or eight - I'm not entirely sure now. You can see it from the road, you can see it from the footbridge.
'It's about ten meters from my home - if they were to fall then they would destroy my garden.'
The beleaguered families say the hay bales sit just metres from their homes and around the corner from the farm in Derbyshire
The beleaguered families say the hay bales sit just metres from their homes and around the corner from the farm in Derbyshire
Peter Shaw, 55, fears the bales are a potential fire risk and is urging Mr Barton, 44, to remove them
Peter Shaw, 55, fears the bales are a potential fire risk and is urging Mr Barton, 44, to remove them
Mr Barton hit back: 'It's not their fields - I live literally next to the bales too. The fire brigade have come out and said it's not a fire risk.
'I don't know why they called me a bully - I'm not a bully. I've liver here my whole life - my mum and dad have lived here too - we've always farmed.
'I've never not farmed and they're telling the council I don't farm. I've got crops to prove it - I've had crops every year.
'I was told by the council that a normal farmer would stack their bales in a big pile in their yard - which is what I've done. They're just twisting things.
'It all started because I got planning permission to build an agricultural shed nothing else. The council gave me permission to do it and told me where to put it and so I started it.
'They went ballistic saying that it was going to ruin their view and devalue their property. Ever since since 2014 they have constantly been reporting us for everything.' 
People believe the hay was 'put there deliberately' after Richard Barton's planning application to run a waste processing site was rejected
People believe the hay was 'put there deliberately' after Richard Barton's planning application to run a waste processing site was rejected
Mr Shaw added: 'I thought they were a fire risk but the fire brigade said to me they're not. The farmer has been trying to put a planning application through now for the past eight years.
'He wants to create a site to process waste. The application has been rejected not just by ourselves but by the whole village.
'It just seems because my house backs onto his farm - that we have to bear the brunt of this.'
Another resident on the street said: 'The view from our back garden used to be open fields but now all you can see is a wall of hay.
'I'm convinced this is some kind of protest against the village because the farmer didn't get the planning permission he wanted.
'It's a form of intimidation and is just simply being done out of spite.'
The hay bales seen from the Shaw's bedroom window in the village. The farmer's planning proposal was rejected by the whole village
The hay bales seen from the Shaw's bedroom window in the village. The farmer's planning proposal was rejected by the whole village
One resident said of the hay bales: 'It's a form of intimidation and is just simply being done out of spite'
One resident said of the hay bales: 'It's a form of intimidation and is just simply being done out of spite'
Andrew, 61 and Jillian Dale, 59, who have lived on Cole Road for 30 years. Mr Dale said: 'This all happened last Thursday - I was at work but I know he starting bringing trailers in the early morning.
'By the time I got home from work it was stacking up and by Saturday it was as you see it now. I think he only stopped because he physically couldn't fit anymore on.
'This is all to do with a planning application by him - he wishes to run a waste processing cite on his land. It was rejected by the whole village.
'If he got it there was would be a lot of trucks, noise and dirt and dust. The turning into Cole Road isn't the safest either - we've had a number of accidents here - this would only increase that.
'Ten days ago the borough council told him to clean up his land. I mean there is no definition of the waste, it could be anything.
'It's just mindless spite and there's not much we can do. This has nothing to do with his farming - its all about the planning application.
'We feel like he's looking for loop holes. The last time we had a conversation about it he threatened to rip my hedges out.'
Mrs Dale added: 'Its ridiculous. He's been planning this for 10 years. We moved here 30 years ago with our two children because we loved the farm lifestyle.
'It used to be a farm - I mean the kids used to love looking at the animals. His father used to run it as a proper farm but that's not the case now.' 
A man who answered the door at Carr Hill Farm, where the bales have been left, refused to comment
A man who answered the door at Carr Hill Farm, where the bales have been left, refused to comment
A Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: 'The storing of these types of bales is done safely and responsibly across the whole of the country and as a result.
'There is no cause for concern relating to this type of storage in its current state.
'If in the future the situation changes and this poses a risk of fire, then the fire and rescue service will do everything in its power to reduce that risk to the surrounding residents and property.' 

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