Farmers win favour

Brothers Luke and Jordan Pinto help out with the Shropshire sheep at Kyneton's Stolengate Farm.

A Kyneton sheep farming family is bound for big plans after a critical decision was made in their favour.

The Pinto family aims to be among Australia’s largest Shropshire breeders and said a permit to build was a “make or break decision”.

Their Baynton Road property falls under the 40ha build requirement for the Farm Zone but they sought to erect shedding and a home to support their farm activities.

Last week Macedon Ranges Shire councillors voted 6-3 in favour of the build permit against council officer recommendation.

Cr Geoff Neil led a push to grant the permit, highlighting the existing block, the applicant’s work on the land and intent.

“This is an existing title. It’s not a subdivision with a house just for the hell of it. It’s a livelihood,” he said.

“We have people here that wish to farm and when you’re there on site it makes it substantially easier to have a productive farm.”

Adjoining land to the north and east of the property comprises Farm Zone land with dwellings for associated agricultural use. Land to the west is Rural Living with smaller developed lots.

Cr Mark Ridgeway referred to the property as “effectively land-locked”. He said large well-established farms had past opportunities to purchase the property and hadn’t done so.

He said the applicants had clearly shown their intentions for farming purposes, and felt there was a need for ongoing supervision of the property.

The application attracted two objections relating to the visual bulk of the dwelling, lack of justification for building in the Farm Zone, noise and amenity expectations of future residents.

Planning officers felt the “agricultural uses proposed were not sufficient to justify the need for a permanent dwelling on site”.

They also warned of “inappropriate fragmentation which would compromise the long-term capacity of the land to be used for agriculture”.

Crs Rob Guthrie, Anne Moore and Jennifer Anderson raised similar concern.

“One more, one more, one more, means that there won’t be a farming zone area any more it will be de facto rural living, which unfortunately, a lot of these small lots allow for that to happen,” Cr Guthrie said.

A division recorded councillors in support of the permit approval were: Crs Neil, West, Bonanno, Pearce, Ridgeway and Death. Those opposed were: Crs Anderson, Guthrie and Moore.