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Farm with a difference set for approval

PUBLISHED: 10:46 04 June 2010 | UPDATED: 09:46 01 August 2010

PLANS for a 'care farm' in south Norfolk which will offer therapeutic training and work experience opportunities for adults and children facing difficulties have been tipped for approval by planners.

PLANS for a 'care farm' in south Norfolk which will offer therapeutic training and work experience opportunities for adults and children facing difficulties have been tipped for approval by planners.

Last month it was reported that Clinks Care Farm in Toft Monks, near Beccles, had won funding to get it off the ground and would soon be welcoming its first farm helpers after receiving £3,500 from The May Gurney Foundation to pay for safety equipment and insurance.

A formal planning application for change of use of the farm has been lodged with South Norfolk Council and planning permission is also sought for a support building, which would house cloakroom facilities, a mess/ workshop room and an office.

A report by planning officers states: “It is proposed to change the use of the farm to a 'care farm,' which will provide placements for vulnerable groups by using the therapeutic use of farming practices to provide health, social or educational care services to these groups.

“It is intended that the people coming to the farm would include people with mental health problems, people with learning disabilities, including autistic spectrum disorder, disaffected young people and older people with dementia…”

The document adds: “This application also includes a new timber-clad support building which will provide mess facilities for people coming to the farm, office accommodation, some space for training modules on land-based industries, IT training, job search and CV writing to be taught.”

The report says that some concern has been raised that the use proposes a risk to people within the local area.

But it adds that it is intended that risk assessments would be carried out on all the people coming to the farm.

The district council has received one letter of objection but says the proposal is acceptable in respect of the aims of the South Norfolk Local Plan 2003 and is considered to be in accordance with various policies.

The application is recommended for approval with conditions and is due to be discussed at a meeting of the council's south and east area planning committee on Monday.

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