Judge orders farmer to remove milking parlour built without planning permission

‘Unauthorised development’ rejected over nitrates concern and potential traffic hazard

Patrick Furlong built the parlour and associated works, including slurry storage and parlour washing tanks at his farm in Wexford.

A farmer has been ordered by the High Court to remove a milking parlour he built without planning permission by September 19th.

Patrick Furlong must cease milking operations by July 21st and in the meantime his herd must be moved to another farm with “a lawful milking facility”, ruled Mr Justice Garret Simons on Tuesday.

Mr Furlong built the parlour and associated works, including slurry storage and parlour washing tanks, at his 24.7-acre farm in Gurteen, Templeshambo, Co Wexford in 2020. It had been a dry stock farm before this.

Wexford County Council served warning and enforcement notices in 2020 requiring him to cease the unauthorised development and restore the lands to their previous condition.


Mr Furlong then made a retention application but it was refused on grounds including that he had not demonstrated there was sufficient effluent storage capacity on the site and it was not clear the development would comply with the Nitrates Directive which is aimed at protecting water from pollution from agricultural sources.

The council also refused it on grounds that the entrance created a traffic hazard on a county road and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. Several retention applications and appeals followed.

Mr Furlong brought High Court judicial review proceedings over the decision 13 months ago but these are still pending.

Mr McCann, represented by David Browne SC, then brought enforcement proceedings in the Circuit Court which in April last year ordered the cessation of the unauthorised development and reinstatement of the lands. The court placed a stay of 12 months on the order.

Mr Furlong appealed that decision to the High Court which on Tuesday dismissed the appeal.

The judge said it would be inappropriate to put a stay on the orders to allow Mr Furlong an opportunity to make what would be a fourth attempt to obtain a form of retrospective development consent through what is known as substitute consent. “With respect, no developer is entitled to this level of indulgence,” he said.

This was “a clear-cut case of unauthorised development”, he added.

The removal of unauthorised structures and reinstatement of the lands is to be done by midnight on September 19th, he said.