The owners of an alpaca farm have submitted plans for the retention of a caravan on-site to allow a full-time worker to be present for animal welfare and the long-term viability of the business.

Willow Lane Alpacas, in Flookburgh, were locked in a battle with South Lakeland District Council last year as the authority issued enforcement notices to the farm for changing its use from 'agricultural' to 'commercial' without permission.

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Anne and Russell Lomas have now emphasized the need for an existing caravan on-site to be allowed to remain as the farm requires a full-time presence to maintain its existence.

In the design statement, the owners outline the need for the dwelling, with proof that electronic security cannot be installed because of the site location.

"There is a requirement for a person to be on the site for both animal welfare and for security," it says.

"Over the weekend of July 18 a dog off the lead entered the site and ran around the male alpacas forcing one to jump over the fence into the female alpaca enclosure.

"This could have been devastating as there were many young females that were too young to breed, and others were pregnant.

"Only because the applicant was on site was the dog removed and the alpacas returned to their correct paddocks.

"Also, people walking past the field to try to entice the alpacas to feed them which again can be devastating."

Mr and Mrs Lomas offer an "Alpaca Experience" for families at feeding times, allowing them to picnic on-site, and one of the many business streams they have is hiring out the alpacas to guard lambing ewes.

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They enclose a letter from farmer Mark Grunhill, who explains that he tried the service as he was losing lambs to predators.

"We agreed to give it a go and it was very successful with no losses at all so we will continue to use this service," he said.

The application said that if permission was not granted 'this would result in the cessation of the farm enterprise and the disbanding of the alpaca herd'

"The extensive investment that the applicants have made into the farm business in the form of land purchases, alpaca breeding, and improvements to the land and site would be lost," it said.

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