AN appeal has been lodged by a petting farm after planning officers served the owners with an enforcement notice.

Hill Farm, in Great Bardfield, was set up three years ago by retired couple Alan Jackman, 66, and Ruth Fayers, 49.

The venue is home to alpacas, horses, emus, chickens, ducks, goats and a variety of other animals, some of which will have to be rehomed if Braintree Council’s enforcement notice ordering the farm’s closure is successful.

The enforcement notice issued in July says the farm must stop operating as a petting farm, remove four zip wire constructions, remove a toilet and bathroom building, cease the residential use of a mobile home and remove it, and remove children's play equipment.

A spokesman for Braintree Council said: “If a development which needs planning permission is carried out without planning permission then a breach of planning control will have occurred and the planning authority must consider taking enforcement action.

"We considered that enforcement action was justified in this case because of the impact of the use and associated development on the open character of the countryside, the restricted accessibility of the site and the impact upon the amenity of neighbouring residential premises.

"The planning inspectorate has confirmed that there will be a public inquiry into the appeal."

A petition set up by concerned resident Dawn Turner has been signed by more than 1,000 people.

See the petition at