PLANNING chiefs have given the go-ahead for a new alpaca venture in Pickering.

Mike Agar, who runs a fabrication business in the town, has been told by Ryedale District Council he can build a stable for the animals in Outgang Road, Pickering.

He decided to start keeping alpacas after buying a field at the rear of his home and looked at the options of what to use it for.

Last February, said Mike, he bought seven alpacas, and as a result of them breeding, now has 10, of which six are pregnant.

“They are bred for their fibre coats,” he said. “And they are also such endearing and bonny animals.”

He and his family plan to have the alpacas’s fibre graded and spun, ready for garment-making, and eventually hopes to create a cottage industry with items being made in Pickering.

The plan to build a stable was approved despite some opposition from neighbours who were concerned about the height of the structure, while Pickering Town Council raised an issue on possible health risk to those living close by.

Coun Lindsay Burr (Lib Dem) said she was also concerned about the close proximity of the stable to houses.

But Coun John Windress (Con) told the planning committee: “There is nothing wrong with the plan. The stable will be an acceptable distance from neighbours.”

Elizabeth Walker, the council’s planning officer, said: “Officers consider there will be no adverse impact on the character and appearance of the landscape.”

Environmental health officers had not objected to the scheme, she added.