THE organiser of the Glastonbury Festival has been narrowly refused permission to build a new cattle barn not far from the festival site.

Michael Eavis applied to build a new Dutch barn on the north side of Pylle Road in Pilton, north of the main Worthy Farm site.

Mr Eavis had intended on using the building to house some of his cattle and store feed.

But Mendip District Council’s planning board has voted to refuse the plans, arguing it was in the wrong place and amounted to building in open countryside.

Around 20 residents had objected to the plans before the board met in Shepton Mallet on Wednesday evening (June 19).

Nick Hall, who lives around 200 metres from the site, said the plans had caused “widespread concern in the village” due to the building’s size and location.

He said: “Several agricultural barns have been approved at Worthy Farm. It is very unlikely that this building will help the economics of the farm, and it doesn’t provide additional benefits for the community.

“This building is totally out of scale – it is massive, 46 metres by 46 metres. It will have a significant visual impact – a two-metre hedge will not shield an 11.5-metre building. It degrades the landscape near the village.”

Dick Skidmore, a former councillor who has farmed in the area for 37 years, said there was no need for the new building from a farming point of view.

He said: “This new site is miles away from Worthy Farm. The access is appalling on that road, particularly at this time of year.

“There is no farming need for these buildings. You’ve got 400 cows and all the ancillary buildings on Worthy Farm in a good situation – it’s just making Pilton a no-go area for the normal residents.

“It’s a lovely green area. If there’s a need to create a new farmstead I’d understand it, but there is no need.”

Planning agent Dan Foster – representing Mr Eavis – responded that the farm would be increasing its number of cattle in the near-future, with the new building designed to “separate dairy cows from dry cows”.

He said: “Worthy Farm is at its heart a large-scale dairy unit, with 430 dairy cows. This is anticipated to increase to 500 cows going forward.

“The location of the new building will reduce the need for farm vehicles to travel to the far reaches of the farm.

“This is a successful farm which benefits the local economy and is a local employer.”

Councillor Nigel Hewitt-Cooper – whose ward includes Worthy Farm – questioned whether putting the barn on the north side of Pylle Road was the best idea.

He said: “I feel it would be better if it was on the southern side of the road. Pylle Road can be fast.

“To have to take livestock back and forth across that, I think it would be an unnecessary danger to both vehicles and pedestrians.

“It’s not the principle that people have concerns with me – it’s more the position on the other side of the road and the impact that would have on the open countryside.”

Councillor Damon Hooton, who chairs the planning board, added: “I don’t think people are against the building – it’s where it is.”

Councillor Matthew Martin, however, argued: “In my inexperienced mind, surely it’s better to have cows going over that road for half an hour at a time, rather than have a tractor moving up and down the country lanes?”

The committee voted by a margin of six votes to five on the grounds of its “detrimental” impact on the open countryside.

Glastonbury Festival said it did not wish to comment on the proposal.