Farm wins permission to expand

A CHILDREN’S petting farm has won approval for expansion after growing in size since it opened.

Tweddle Children’s Animal Farm in Blackhall Colliery won official backing from planning councillors for a variety of additions, some of which had already been built.

Owners Peter and Denise Wayman submitted a retrospective planning application for the work including new buildings, animal pens, storage containers, and additional car parking.

The application also covered pedal go-kart tracks, a former railway carriage used as a play shelter, cafe, outside seating area and gift shop.

Councillors on Durham County Council planning committee unanimously granted outline planning for the work at a meeting held in Easington.

A neighbouring farmer objected to the proposals and said the number cars going to the site had increased from 40 a week to hundreds a day with disturbance from noisy children.

But planning officers at the council recommended the application should be approved and said they did not consider the expansion would not have an adverse impact.

Highways officers said they were satisfied with access arrangements on the grounds that no more than two buses visit the site at any one time.

Councillors also agreed the application contributed to the area’s tourism and economy.

Tweddle Farm saw visitor numbers drop after claims by the Captive Animals Protection Society that E-coli had been found there.

But it was given a clean bill of heallth after being visited by environmental health officers who found no evidence of the bacteria.