We really are living the Scandinavian dream - alpaca farmers
Clare and Martin Stanger are stood surrounded by their champion alpacas on their 23-acre smallholding – and couldn’t be happier.
Six months ago, they moved into their large, new log farmhouse which sits on their land next to the barn. With a sleek, modern fitted kitchen/diner, cosy sitting room, three double bedrooms, ensuite shower room, family bathroom, cloakroom and utility room, their new home is their pride and joy. Their 86-strong alpaca herd and 80 rare breed sheep graze in the neighbouring fields. “We can now watch them through our windows, so you can see how they are getting on,” said Clare. “It’s so much easier than it used to be.”
The Stangers are typical of many of Norwegian Log’s rural customers who are able to live amongst their livestock, all thanks to their new home being ‘transportable’ and proving to their local council that they are able to run a profitable and sustainable business from their land.
The Stangers had been commuting between their home in a local village several miles away and their land, often at unsociable hours, so they could be with their animals. This was becoming increasingly difficult, with emergency dashes to assist animals giving birth, and so they knew they wanted to live on their land. “We needed to be with the alpacas for their security and welfare,” said Clare.
Securing planning permission for a brick building was problematic and, when talking to other alpaca breeders they recommended Norwegian Log Buildings, the Stangers made an appointment to visit the firm’s show home in Reading. This appointment was the turning point in their story….
Norwegian Log’s team explained the possibilities for a large farmhouse that would suit their needs perfectly but could also be classified as transportable, so meeting strict agricultural tie planning guidelines. “They were brilliant, really fantastic,” said Martin. With help from an agricultural planning consultant, the Stangers applied for permission and were granted temporary planning permission for a temporary building. They now have three years to prove they can build their business to meet the council’s requirements, something they are confident they can do.
As well as tending to their alpaca herd and sheep, they also run an online shop selling beautiful alpaca knitwear, attending shows and events around the UK. Their successful alpaca breeding means they sell these wonderful animals and offer alpaca chat experiences.
The build process for their home was a speedy one. Once planning permission was granted in July, Norwegian Log arrived on site in September and by Christmas, the Stangers had moved into their new home. “We absolutely love it. It’s so peaceful, calm and cosy,” said Clare.” You come back home and you are really glad to be back.”
“We are definitely more relaxed as we’re not rushing back and forth worrying about what might be happening with our animals, shuttling between the village and our land,” said Martin.
Reactions from friends and relatives have been nothing but positive. “Everybody’s reaction when they walk in is the same – ‘wow’. They don’t expect the space, the height of the ceilings and the size of the rooms,” said Clare. “We just love it. We really are living the Scandinavian dream!”
Read our tips on planning permission here.