A farmer in Co Wexford has been ordered by a High Court judge to remove a milking parlour on his farm which was erected without planning permission.

Patrick Furlong, who farms at Gurteen, Templeshambo, Co Wexford, has admitted to building the parlour without planning permission in or around June 2020.

Wexford County Council served Furlong with a warning letter and an enforcement notice in the months following the start of the development.

These orders required Furlong to cease unauthorised development and restore the land to its prior condition - the farm had previously been a drystock farm. A stay of 12 months was placed on the order.

Retention application

In March 2021, Furlong applied for retention permission and the first application was refused.

Effluent storage capacity, insufficient sightlines and the impact on nearby water supplies were the three reasons cited by Wexford County Council for refusal.

The council said that Furlong had not demonstrated that there was sufficient effluent storage capacity available on site and, additionally, that it was not clear that the development would comply with the EU nitrates directive.

Furlong applied for retention permission twice more and was refused again.

Mr Justice Garret Simons ruled on Tuesday that Furlong cease milkings in the parlour by 21 July and have his tanks cleaned out by that date. In the meantime, Furlong must take away the cows to a different farm which has a lawful facility for milking.

The only reason that an earlier date has not been specified is in the interests of animal welfare, the judge said.

The unauthorised structures are then to be removed by midnight on 19 September 2024.

Financial implications

Judge Simons said that the "negative financial implications" are the inevitable consequence of Furlong's failure to comply with the planning legislation and his "reckless decision" to press on with the unauthorised development in the teeth of the warning letter from Wexford County Council.