Setting up or extending a farm track – what you need to know

15 January 2024

Dirt road on a farm

Photograph: Photography Firm

Is planning permission needed for constructing a farm track? CT Planning’s Chris Timothy looks at the legislation you need to consider.

Private ways or ‘farm tracks’ are often developed on farms to improve the operation of the agricultural unit. But before you begin work, you need to consider the question: do I need planning permission to construct, alter or extend a farm track? The answer is that if you are thinking of creating, rearranging or replacing a farm track, you will need planning permission in most cases.

Submitting an application

There are two possible ways to secure planning permission for a farm track – either through having a permitted development right (where this is applicable) or by submitting a planning application.

You can develop, rearrange or replace farm tracks on both larger and smaller agricultural units under existing agricultural permitted development rights where they are considered to be reasonably necessary for agricultural purposes.

The permitted development rights include the conditions for developing farm tracks under these rights, and there is no size or ground area limit on the extent of the farm track that can be developed on your site.

Where farm tracks are developed under permitted development rights on larger agricultural units (that is a unit of five hectares or more) prior approval will be needed from your LPA (local planning authority).

You will need to submit a form to your LPA and they will then have 28 days to let the applicant know of their decision – whether a full application will have to be made or to inform you of their decision to allow or refuse prior approval.

On smaller agricultural units (those of less than five hectares but more than 0.4 hectares), prior approval will also be needed if the agricultural unit is in certain protected areas, such as:

  • conservation areas
  • National Landscapes (formerly Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty)
  • National Parks
  • the Broads
  • World Heritage Sites.

When considering either a prior approval application or a full planning application for the development of farm tracks, LPAs should consider the need for such development to support agriculture on the unit.

If you need professional assistance with making a planning application for a farm track, then please contact CT Planning by calling 01543 418 779 or visiting

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