Aerial view from the church around the Wiltshire village of Bromham in Wiltshire, near to the towns of Calne, Melksham, Devizes and Chippenham

Bromham farmer says he was picked on

By Bromham Webmaster, Oct 1 2018 05:53PM

A farmer who had massive fires on his land has failed in a second bid to overturn an abatement notice served by the council.

Lance Beale had huge blazes on his land in Bromham, one lasting seven days, which led to smoke and dust particles ruining the environment for neighbours.

But the 67-year-old claimed other people had similar bonfires and that he was being picked on by the council and Environment Agency, who were underworked.

After a one-and-a-half day appeal at Swindon Crown Court a judge, sitting with two justices, ruled the blazes had caused a nuisance and threw out his challenge.

Beale, who lives at Wyatts Lake Farm, Westbrook, was made subject of the order in September last year following complaints from neighbours in the village.

Local residents on the Greystones estate and surrounding area said the huge bonfires sent plumes of acrid yellow smoke billowing into their properties.

After taking advice from the authorities one household kept a diary to note down the fires and the issues they said were caused by them.

The court heard of a litany of complaints to the council about the burning activity on Beale's farm.

Last September an environmental health officer went to The Pound following complaints from residents.

She said that she could see a mechanical digger being used to apparently feed the large fire which was burning on the farm.

When she went to a house on The Pound she said she saw soot particles and smoke inside the house as well as in the back garden.

A statement was read from a man who had a holiday caravan on the farm in which he said he had never been smoked out.

Recorder Simon Levene commented that if he 'was present for the full seven days' when one fire was burning then 'we were surprised he was not smoked out'.

The judge, sitting with two magistrates, ruled the fires constituted a 'statutory nuisance' and so the council were right to serve the notice.

He said they had an impact on the residents' enjoyment of their gardens, saying "In that situation alone the council were right to serve an abatement notice."

As well as rejecting his appeal he ordered Beale to pay £6,082 in costs on top of the £835 he was told to hand over after losing his first appeal before magistrates.

Gazette and Herald - 25 September 2018

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View from the tower of SAt Nicholas Church, Bromham, Wiltshire