On initially contemplating alpaca ownership, we attempted to buy a house with enough land to farm both them and care for our three horses. This proved to be a futile exercise in our area as everything on offer was so far out of our price range it was just ridiculous.
Rather than give up on our dreams, we next looked at the possibility of adding a further five acres to the land that we had purchased a few years earlier to graze and stable our horses on, we were very fortunate that there was land adjacent to us available and so with a little over ten acres acquired, our dreams began.
Armed with a sound and thorough business plan, our starter herd of alpacas, two portakabins, three children, two dogs and three horses, our planning agent kindly informed the local council planning department of our intentions, and we moved on to our land. A temporary planning application was submitted and within a short period of time, permission was duly granted.
By now you’re probably questioning the two portakabins, everything else we arrived with is pretty self-explanatory. The portakabins were to be the basis of our temporary accommodation.
The two thirty foot portakabins were positioned fifteen feet apart, running parallel to each other. A raised floor was assembled in the fifteen foot space between them and a roof constructed, which stretched across the three separate sections. Either end of the fifteen foot centre section was filled in to make a contained complete unit.
The interior of the portakabins were divided up into four bedrooms, two in each, plus an office in one and a bathroom in the other. The centre section became an open plan kitchen and living room. New windows, a Magnet kitchen, central heating and best of all a log burner completed our temporary construction and although it’s no five star hotel is comfortable and warm and very spacious especially in comparison to other temporary dwellings i.e. a caravan.
Our temporary permission to live on our land was granted for three years. At the end of this three year period we would have to prove to the planning department that our alpaca business was a genuine and viable business to justify the need for a permanent house to be built in replacement of our temporary dwelling.
The three years have flown by and in that time we have followed and fulfilled our original business plan. We have expanded our herd, developed a product line with our fibre and turned a new start up business into profit.
On submitting our new and updated business plan, our accounts and of course our plan for the new house, we were once again supported by the planning department and our permanent planning was granted.
We are grateful that the planning law is such that it enables small farming enterprises to exist, without this law Honeyfield Alpacas could not have happened.
The law gave us the opportunity and we have taken that opportunity to prove alpaca farming on a small acreage is both successful, achievable and makes for a viable business.