A decision on plans to redevelop a village flower business has been deferred so conditions can be worked on to limit the site’s impact on its neighbours.

Cumbria Wildflowers, which grows and sells flowers on the site of a former stables between Great Orton and Moorhouse, applied to Carlisle City Council for retrospective planning permission for the use of a former stable building for storage, reconfiguration of staff and visitor parking, retention of an administration building, erection of a potting shed, demolition of a building, installation of standalone solar panels and change of use for land from a meadow to hardstanding.

The applicant also proposed to extend the former stable building to provide more storage space, extend the admin building, create a polytunnel and erect a tray-filling building and additional greenhouse.

However, when the planning application was being considered by the city’s development control committee on Friday, councillors heard claims from neighbouring residents that the site was also being used to store storage and operate heavy plant machinery.

The application had been recommended for approval subject to conditions by planners, and members were reminded to focus on planning issues which related to the application before them.

Councillors did not have an issue with the proposed redevelopment, but voted unanimously to defer a decision so that they could make sure conditions protected the neighbours from disturbance.

Councillor Nigel Christian said: “I just feel I don’t have, in terms of the conditions, sufficient information to be able to make a proper judgement.”

Colin McTurk, who lives next to the site with his wife and two children, showed the committee pictures and videos showing heavy machinery operating which he said had been removed ahead of a site visit.

“If the planning application is passed based on the officer’s recommendations, as well as making a mockery of the planning system, the reality is that heavy machinery will return,” he said.

Trevor Allison, who is a county and city councillor for Dalston and Burgh, supported Mr McTurk, who also said that he did not have an issue with the growing or selling of flowers on the site.

Jonathan Rook, who co-owns Cumbria Wildflowers with his wife Andrea, acknowledged plant machinery had been used on the site, but argued that had been “historical” demolition and construction work.

Mr Rook said the plant machinery belonged to his other business, Open Space, a consultancy and contracting company, and was kept at Kirkbride Airfield.

He added: “Of the objections in the letters, I believe most have been exaggerated and a distortion of reality with nearly all being historical.

“The reality is the site is much quieter today than it was when it was operating as a riding stable.”

He also objected to a condition which would restrict the times at which activities at the rear of the site could be carried out.