A TOP county council member has caused ‘bemusement’ in his parish after admitting that he has been breaching the conditions required to live in his own home.

Cabinet member at Hampshire County Council, Andrew Gibson, moved into Test Valley Farm 12 years ago, with the house requiring that the occupant had to be employed in agriculture.

Cllr Gibson, who represents Test Valley Central, agreed to those terms and moved into the Chilbolton home in 2006.

Now, Cllr Gibson has submitted an application to Test Valley Borough Council, which says he has never been employed in the industry. Numerous neighbours and the parish council have objected to the statement though, saying he has been keeping cattle and chickens for years – even submitting photos as evidence.

In his application, cllr Gibson wants to get rid of the regulations for living in the house on Little Drove Road, which would allow any occupant to live in the property.

In a statement, the executive member for culture, recreation and countryside said: “Since June 2006 I have resided personally in the property known as Test Valley Farm.

“I have been in breach of the occupation conditions.

“I have not been employed in agriculture, forestry or equestrian activities for the duration of my time occupying the property or at any other time in my life.”

Among the 14 objections, neighbours have offered photographic evidence of cows on the farm, to support their statement that Cllr Gibson is, in fact, involved in agriculture.

One of the main causes for the objection is that neighbours are concerned that getting rid of the current regulations to live in the property could lead the way to unwanted development.

Chilbolton Parish Council planning committee chair Jane O’Boyle also submitted an objection from the local authority.

She said: “Although Mr Gibson states that he has been in breach of the occupation conditions attached to the property, we believe that this is not the case.

“Mr Gibson has referred to himself as a “hobby farmer” and talked about his “cattle”.

“When Mr Gibson purchased Test Valley Farm he told local residents that he intended to use it for equestrian purposes. This did not happen, but cattle and chickens and sheep have been kept on the land during the time in question.”

Drove Road resident Rosemary Farenden said: “I am shocked that the agricultural occupancy has so been so blatantly disregarded, with the present application.”