An Isle of Wight planning committee has given the green light for a developer to build 473 properties on land owned by a family dairy farm.
The committee's members debated controversial large-scale housing plans for nearly three hours on Tuesday (27 July), according to local media Isle of Wight County Press
This is despite over 5,000 people having signed a petition urging the council to save the dairy farm, owned by the Holliday family, which is the last of its kind in Ryde.
Developer Westridge Village, owned by the bosses of Captiva, put forward an application to build 473 properties on the farmland.
But the Holliday family, who have been the tenants of Westridge Farm since 1966, said the development would force the farm to shut down.
The planning application West Acre Park would also mean the permanent loss of ancient hedgerows and habit, they added.
Amy Holliday, wife of tenant farmer Nigel Holliday, told the meeting on Tuesday: “We wish to keep farming. We will lose our home and our livelihood… this would close the farm forever.”
Chief executive of Captiva Homes, Iain Delaney said the firm recognised the importance of developing the Isle of Wight properly.
But he highlighted the benefits of the development, including more jobs, £100 million of investment and 473 new homes.
In December, the Holliday's young son Archie wrote to the local ward representative Councillor Michael Lilley saying the 'houses will ruin the farm forever.'
“I want to be a farmer when I grow up like my dad, my grandad and great-grandad at Westridge Farm," Archie's letter said.
“The landlord and developers want to build all these houses which will ruin the farm forever. I do not understand why houses can be built on land that is being used.”
An online campaign website 'Save Westridge Farm' was created, which urged the public to submit their objections to the Isle of Wight council.