NFU welcomes rural planning review

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A Government review looking at a more streamlined planning system in rural areas has been welcomed by the NFU.

The Rural Planning Review: Call For Evidence’ , published by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, could help drive forward one of the NFU’s top ten Manifesto asks to simplify planning rules for farmers and growers.

The 10 week consultation will try to find out how the town planning system should change to benefit farming and rural businesses. A briefing for NFU members is attached.

Suzanne Clear, NFU senior advisor for planning and rural affairs said: “The planning system has often delayed farmers’ and growers’ ability to develop their farm businesses, diversify and get more homes on farm.

“Any planning issues can be raised so this review is a timely opportunity to feedback on how the system can work better.  In particular the consultation asks about using permitted development rights for a farm shop, polytunnels and on-farm reservoirs. It also provides the chance to feedback on the planning rules for converting farm building to agricultural use.”

The deadline for submissions to this call for evidence is 21 April 2016.

The NFU Manifesto called for ‘Planning Rules that enable farmers and farm enterprises to compete and grow with expanding potential markets and conform to regulatory requirements’. More information can be found here.


Last edited on: 16:02:2016

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NFU members: Have your say

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  • Posted by: Robert HembrowPosted on: 18/02/2016 10:08:56

    Comment: We are small, Somerset formerly dairy farm. We are both at retiring age and would like to downsize from a large farmhouse. We have a redundant Somerset cubicle shed and would like to build a retirement bungalow on this site. It could be built on a lesser footprint and at the same height.We have used our permitted development rights on other brick and stone buildings. Taunton Deane BC would almost certainly refuse planning permission because it conflicts with their policies.We would like to remain on the farm and replace an unsightly metal sheeted building with a bungalow built of local material in keeping with other buildings in the area. We feel the present policy is too restrictive in that it is limited by size and restricts owners to converting an existing building unsuitable for conversion instead of reusing a brownfield site.
  • Posted by: David BrammerPosted on: 18/02/2016 10:24:11

    Comment: Successive governments have promised to streamline and simplify planning. This is not just an issue for NFU members and rural interests. Current key issues in rural planning include the impact of housing development and determination of settlement hierarchies in rural areas; essential need housing; agricultural permitted development rights; the influence/importance of neighbourhood and parish plans. The introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Planning Practice Guiance (PPG) have assisted in providing clear and accessible guidance but issues such as the inconsistency shown in determining applications for Prior Approval for agricultural buildings make it apparent that the government's planning reforms are not yet meeting their objectives and other initiatives introduced by the Localism Act (including Assets of Community Value, Local Green Spaces and Neighbourhood Plans) may have the effect of complicating the system unnecsssarily.
  • Posted by: Philip BPosted on: 02/03/2016 20:49:08

    Comment: Having tried unsuccessfully to buy a neighbouring barn that is unused, we have been trying to get planning permission for a barn - we currently have only 4 alpacas and 11 pedigree sheep, but our sheep flock has tripled in a year and we are intending increasing it to around 50 breeding ewes over the next couple of years (by keeping our own lambs and buying more in). We went to several pre planning application sessions with the planners (as is recommended) and submitted our application. The planning officer we were assigned obviously does not understand farming and was going to turn down our application, despite me providing sensible attainable growth forecasts which I had worked out with our local vets and a very experienced sheep breeder (of over 60 years). Our district councillor was a great help being a farmer himself, and we had provided extracts from the Local Planning Policy and the National one supporting our proposal. We were told that we could only go 1/4 the size (i.e. a bay and a half) which we would grow out of in a year. The objectors we had to our application were non locals from London and Bath who had moved to the area, with the main objector not even being able to see our barn from his property, nor really from the lane about 150m from his house which would be the nearest point. What we need is planning officers who understand the countryside and how it works. We also need clear rules - the planning officer had said that we could not put a 300 sqm barn up as the size of our holding was not big enough - we have 15 1/2 acres we own and my family have another 25 acres 600m from our house which we could also rent in - how much land do we need? The online planning portal says we would only need a certificate prior to construction, but the planning officer says that is not correct - you can see our frustration. We now have a situation that we are starting lambing in a couple of weeks and have still not got our planning, yet alone our barn.
  • Posted by: George Ridge NFU Member AJ74CPosted on: 17/03/2016 11:14:20

    Comment: I have a redundant Shed suitable for conversion to a dwelling. However, our business here is forestry (and on 20th March 2013) so planning was refused because the business was not agricultural. This was a livestock farm until we progressively put all the land into trees 1992 to 2004. Is there any remedy ?

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