Can planning deliver more housing on-farm?

village and countryside scene

The NFU wants to hear its members’ views on rural housing – and particularly your thoughts on the importance of being able to get a new home on-farm.

The government is currently looking to change national town planning advice, in the National Planning Policy Framework, and also to amend planning law through the Housing and Planning Bill. The aim to deliver more houses.

Most of the attention is focused on delivering housing on previously developed or brownfield land in cities, towns and villages, rather than supporting farms and other rural businesses. But we want to make sure there is a clear understanding of how important it is to deliver rural housing to support our farming businesses and wider farming communities.

The government is also looking at what housing should be classed as‘affordable’.

They are suggesting it could it be a ‘starter home’; a new initiative where homes could be built which would not otherwise come forward for planning and would be offered at 20% less than market value for first-timebuyers aged up to 40.

They are also asking whether new homes in rural areas should only be available to people who have local connections and whether more Green Belt land should be used.

We need to hear our members’ experiences - as landowners trying to bring forward land to support their wider farm businesses and as employers trying to recruit farm workers whose families can continue to live and work close by.

  • Further information about the consultation is available here.
  • Please send your views to Suzanne Clear, senior advisor (planning and rural affairs), by emailing c3V6YW5uZS5jbGVhckBuZnUub3JnLnVr by 7th February.

Last edited on: 15:12:2015

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NFU members: Have your say

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  • Posted by: Brian JacksonPosted on: 16/12/2015 20:23:19

    Comment: 106-8 Agreements
    I have made known to MP Kris Hopkins.
    As it stands the law allows to convert redundant sheds on my holding to domestic dwellings but for the 106-8 agreement are unable to sell anyone individually, only as a total Farm sale.
    This is an iniquitous situation.
    The NFU must seek for a total removal of the 106-8 agreements.
    As EEC members I understand no such agreement exists in other member states.
    Our Chancellor has stated the villages must play their part and take more housing.
    At present local authorities have and do dig their heals in for any removal request.
    (NFU see the agreements out)
  • Posted by: George Ridge Membership No AJ74CPosted on: 17/12/2015 11:04:44

    Comment: I have made application to our Local Planners for change of use of a redundant Agricultural Shed to a dwelling, which happens to be near five other residential houses and on a quite acceptable site. This has been refused because we were a forestry business on the qualifying day 20th March 2013, as we are now. Prior to 2004 we were a livestock farm(and still have a holding number),but now have planted up all land making 45ha of broadleaf forest. Can you give me any help or advice please ? George Ridge Braddon Farmhouse Ashwater Beaworthy Devon EX21 5EP tel 01409211350
  • Posted by: Peter J CairnsPosted on: 17/12/2015 20:53:54

    Comment: The planning system should be able to look favourably on applications in the countryside for young people who were born and raised in the countryside and would like live there and not be forced to move to town or city.
  • Posted by: Robert JonesPosted on: 26/12/2015 21:09:49

    Comment: From our own experience of being turned down by the planning committee for a barn conversion on our land, we strongly believe that farmers close to retiring age should be given consent to build a modest dwelling on the land (brownfield site)so that our children can continue with the farming enterprise. At the moment elderly farmers are hanging on to farms (and BPS)and living in the farm house, and therefore clogging up the natural progression of farming inheritance.
  • Posted by: Ivan QuincePosted on: 19/01/2016 19:49:36

    Comment: Can planning deliver more housing on-farm
    In order to address the NFU comment above I would suggest amending the Class Q – agricultural buildings to dwelling houses PD rights change of use farm buildings to Dwellings 2015, to relax the definition of structural soundness.
    In my experience, currently, structural soundness is taken as meaning concrete / brick footings, with brick /concrete facade walls and tiled roofs , using this criterion has eliminated farm buildings built of timber in whole or in part and with tin roofs/ and or other such roofs. This has led to a refusal for a change of use to residential, the reason given that the building is not structurally sound, regardless of the fact that the building may have been in existence long before the first Town & Country planning order was adopted, and are still in existence today. The fact that they are not built of a material that allows for the adding of insulation, and internal walls as is required to meet the regulations for dwelling houses, should be immaterial and not a valid reason for refusal as these buildings have stood the test of time, and are still present today.
    I would also like to suggest that all small parcels of farm land that would accommodate up to 10 units or less that have adopted road frontage and are bounded on all other sides by a permanent boundary feature being an established hedgerow, a river /ditch/ dyke track or such like should be considered for change of use to residential. These would act as restriction buffer for further development into the countryside, again from my experience these pieces of land are unmanageable for farming and may have not contributed to farming for many years.
    Membership No LM25R

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