Galgate halal farm housing threat

Photo Neil Cross
Peter Bartley who runs Wardfield Farm with his wife Jean, are being presented with a quality award
Photo Neil Cross Peter Bartley who runs Wardfield Farm with his wife Jean, are being presented with a quality award

Lancaster’s only halal farmer has been given notice to quit his business to make way for housing.

Plans have gone in to build up to 75 homes at Ward Field Farm on the A6, where tenant farmer Peter Bartley has spent a fortune since setting up his business four years ago.

Flooding to the rear of Main Road, Galgate

Flooding to the rear of Main Road, Galgate

“I’m going to fight this, I’ve worked too hard here and I’ve built up a fabulous business,” said a defiant Peter whose controversial halal farm featured in the Lancaster Guardian last month and made national headlines.

Residents in Galgate are also up in arms over the proposals which they say will increase the flooding risk to properties that have alreadyfaced significant problems over the last two years.

Peter Bartley leased the land around four years ago, and now runs a successful halal farm and butchers from the site with his wife Jean and a halal butcher.

Halal is a method of slaughtering animals which consists of using a well-sharpened knife to make a swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, whilst uttering the Islamic prayer ‘Bismillah’ or “in the name of God”.

Peter Bartley with new butcher Maulana Abbas.

Peter Bartley with new butcher Maulana Abbas.

He said: “When I came here I spent a fortune on the house.

“I did it all up on the understanding that we would end up being able to live here for as long as we wanted.

“Now they’ve given me notice to quit, and they’ve not even had the decency to come and speak to us. It was only 18 months ago that they were wishing me all the best.”

Many Galgate residents have already objected to the plans.

Homeowners in Main Road are concerned that any new housing built on the fields would increase the flood risk to their properties, which are already at risk when the river Conder is in full flow.

Residents are also concerned that new homes in this location would reduce the promised buffer zone between Galgate and the proposed Bailrigg Garden Village.

In 2016, Mr Bartley delivered 150 bags of sand to homeowners in Main Road to help them stave off the river when the Conder burst its banks.

Residents fear that continued new development along the A6 was causing more water to run off hardstanding surfaces into the river.

Galgate resident Andrew Poulter said: “Residents in Galgate are up in arms about this proposal.

“There is considerable concern about the increased flooding risk that this will bring; in addition to this being on the ‘area of separation’ between Galgate and the proposed Bailrigg Garden Village.

“The proposal is to drain surface water from the new development into a river which is already prone to flooding.

“This is akin to trying to put a fire out with petrol - simply madness.”

Photos of the flooded field and water entering properties in Main Road have been supplied to Lancaster City Council by residents.

Mr Bartley said: “I’m going to fight this. I’ll fight it even if it takes two or three years.

“I’ve worked too hard here and I’ve built up a fabulous business. If this field wasn’t here the flooding in the village would be even worse.”

The outline plans have been submitted by Hollins Strategic Land LLP, on behalf of the landowners.
They include the development of up to 75 homes, and the demolition of existing agricultural buildings.

A “village green” and pond is also proposed, and the application states that there will be “no increase of flood risk as a result of the proposals”.

But Mr Bartley added: “I feel sorry for the people in those houses on the A6 and it’s time people knew about this.”