A livestock haulage service said to be “as important to the Staffordshire Moorlands as JCB” could be forced to close with the loss of eight full-time jobs.
It comes after Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s planning applications committee threw out an application for a company to change the use of a farmyard at Bark House Farm, Hulme Road, Werrington, to livestock haulage.
At present the livestock haulage company C & R Livestock Haulage operates from Grove Garage in Kingsley Road, Cellarhead, and provides a service to farmers attending Leek Cattle Market.
Until 2010 the haulage business was run by E and C Mear, which had operated from the site for 70 years, but was then taken over and run from the same premises.
However, in 2014 the family submitted plans to build five houses on the site, which have now been approved and the site sold, so the present company is facing an eviction notice.
Last week the district council’s planning applications committee threw out the company’s resubmitted application to move the haulage businesses to Bark House Farm, Werrington.
Now directors Calvin Swinson and Russell Campbell, have said the decision could force the business to close as they had searched the area for another premises to no avail.
In a last ditch effort they are appealing for any landowner who has two sheds available and yard space for up to seven HGV’s to come forward.
Secretary of Leek Auctions Ltd, Bruce Daniel, said if the business closed it would have an affect on the facility.
He said: “The business is very important to the area.
“This will affect the market as a very high percentage, especially the fatstock section, are handled by the company.
“People could have to stay for long hours to get the site cleared. The company has been looking for a site, but has been unable to find one.”
Following the refusal vote by the committee Mr Swinson said: “We have searched everywhere and this could be the end of the road for the business as there is no other option.
“The highways authority had not objected to the plan. Time is not on our side.
“As soon as the plan was refused we were locked out from some of the site and are unable to maintain our lorries.”
Mr Campbell said: “We take about £16 million worth of stock each year from Leek Cattle Market.
“We will soon be evicted from our present site.
“We will have to sell our wagons and make our drivers, many who have young families, redundant.”
Planning committee member, Councillor Julie Bull, said: “I am very worried about this.
“This service is vital to farmers and this is the only local company farmers can use.
“The nearest could be 50 miles away. It could cost farmers a fortune to get their animals to market. It is has important as JCB.
“It is vital. The current site is no longer available.”
A report to the committee by planning officers said: “The contribution of the proposed facility to the rural economy carries significant weight.
“However, even with the other suggested benefits put forward by the applicant, the conclusion is that although perhaps more finely balanced in this particular case, these considerations do not clearly outweigh the harm to the green belt and the harm to the living conditions of the occupiers of Bark Cottage.
“Consequently very special circumstances do not exist and the proposal does not represent sustainable development.”