Farmers faced with spiralling costs are fighting a decision to refuse plans for a housing development on grazing land they say is too expensive to maintain.
Speaking for the family which owns the land south of West Mains Crofts, near West Calder, Carolyn Watson had argued the two fields were no longer viable for grazing livestock.
The family has lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government’s Division of Environmental and Planning Appeals (DPEA).
Mrs Watson told a meeting of West Lothian Council’s planning committee the fields were not suitable for growing crops and had been used to graze cattle and sheep.
However the land still needs to be fertilised and the cost of fertiliser has gone from £250 a tonne to £900 a tonne.
Added to this was the cost of diesel for travelling from the family home near Dechmont and back, a 22-mile round trip.
The family used eight tonnes of fertiliser a year to maintain the fields for grazing which had seen costs rise to £7,200 annually. This was no longer sustainable, she told the DMC.
The family sought planning permission to build 17 houses on the site.
Mrs Watson told the committee she believed the plan for housing was green as some 55% of the 40 acre site would be retained as green space.
The land is designated as open countryside though bounded by a lowland croft site. There were five objections including one from West Calder and Harburn Community Council.
An agent for the applicant, Tommy Cochrane, argued that surrounding lowland croft developments mean the new homes could not be classed as sporadic development.
“We would fit in with crofts already there,” he added.
Planning officers disagreed. In a report to the committee planning officer Matthew Watson said: “The application site is characterised by being open countryside with wide views across the surrounding countryside.
“The proposed development will fundamentally alter the character of the site to a suburbanised environment. The proposal will not, therefore, integrate with its local context and built form and will have an adverse impact on local landscape character.”
The DPEA will assign a reporter to examine the case and make a decision, which is expected before the end of the year.