Owners of Tiny Steps Petting Farm in Bourne say they are 'broken by complaints' and are to shut

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Founders say they have been ‘worn out’ by stream of criticism

The owners of the popular Tiny Steps Petting Farm in Bourne have announced the venue will close at the end of the month.

Tracey Hall (60) and her husband David (72) say they have been left worn out by a stream of complaints from some members of the public and numerous visits by council officials.

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The countryside venue, in Peterborough Road. Thurlby, which has about 50 small animals from donkeys, goats, sheep ponies, two wallabies called Ant and Dec and an array of poultry, is in just its third year of opening to the public.

The Tiny Steps Petting Farm at Bourne, will close at the end of the month.The Tiny Steps Petting Farm at Bourne, will close at the end of the month.
The Tiny Steps Petting Farm at Bourne, will close at the end of the month.

But Mrs Hall said the not-for-profit farm attraction would shut at the end of the month and that a few of the animals would have to be found new homes.

She said: “I feel we have been a victim of our own success.

"The farm was set up for people to pet the animals and enjoy the countryside but it has done so well and has attracted community groups, groups for the disabled and families and schools - it has become so much more than we expected.

“But by getting busier it is starting to impact on the planning conditions that we were given to start with and it has played into other people’s hands who know the rules and want to make complaints.

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A couple of the attractions at the Tiny Steps Petting Farm at Bourne, which is closing down.A couple of the attractions at the Tiny Steps Petting Farm at Bourne, which is closing down.
A couple of the attractions at the Tiny Steps Petting Farm at Bourne, which is closing down.

She said: “We have been bombarded by complaints and we have got to the point where we can’t keep going.

"We are broken by it.

She said: “We had council officers around yesterday saying we are doing things wrong. We are constantly wondering what the next thing is going to be.”

Mrs Hall said complaints had ranged from traffic, visitors searching for access to the site, security and the venue’s booking system.”

Last year, the venue brought in £18,500 but its costs were £21,500. Often much of the revenue has gone on dealing with planning issues, providing more safety for the animals, and security cameras.

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Mrs Hall said: “I don’t feel we have ever been supported by the council for what we do. They have just told us what we need to change.”

South Kesteven District Council has been approached for a comment.

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