A FAMILY whose farm would be demolished if a major development at Hulton Park goes ahead has urged the government to block the plans.

Michael Partington told the planning inspector how the proposal, which includes building 1,036 homes and a Ryder Cup golf course, would destroy Dearden’s Farm.

The tenant farmer, whose family has been associated with the estate for the last 65 years, gave an emotional account of the farm’s history at the public inquiry on Thursday.

He said: “On Tuesday I sat here and listened all about heritage. But there’s also heritage happening right now.

“Far from being of no significant importance, I beg to differ. Heritage of the farm is happening as we speak. From one generation to the next. So, if this scheme goes ahead our heritage will die along with Deardens.”

John Partington took over the farm in 1955 after the Hulton family agreed to the request of the previous tenant farmers.

His son Michael brought his own family to the site in 2001 and has since invested a lot of time and money into “diversifying” the farm, he told the inquiry.

Dearden’s Farm now produces award-winning milk which it supplies to 10 restaurants across the North West as well as local delicatessens and shops.

Mr Partington described the ice cream parlour run by his daughters at the farm as a “community hub”.

As well as hosting events, the farm is “regularly” hosts visits from schools, Mr Partington said.

He added: “I think this is crucial especially in this day and age when the next generation of people are becoming so distant from where food on their plate is coming from.”