The Government consulted on rural planning issues last year and as a result propose to amend rural planning guidance to ensure that certain types of rural development are given appropriate, positive consideration within the planning system. Those developments that are to be given increased support include on farm reservoir development, polytunnels, farm shops and conversion of barns to residential.
With regard to on farm reservoir developments, these should be considered in the context of the increased drive for more water storage and the disposal of excavated waste should be deemed an acceptable bi-product.
They are proposing to amend the existing Class Q permitted development rights (agricultural buildings to dwelling houses to increase the existing threshold from 450m2 to 465m2 which brings it into line with current permitted development rights for agricultural development. The revised guidance is also likely to support delivery of rural homes for rural workers with a proposal to allow conversion of up to 750m2 for a maximum of five new dwellings each with a floor space of no more than 150m2.
Turning redundant agricultural buildings into new homes could provide a valuable source of non-farm income and meet rural housing needs.
Stephen Rice welcomes these proposed moves. They provide farmers and landowners with yet more opportunities to diversify their businesses and generate valuable income on their farms from non-agricultural sources. We are particularly pleased that the new guidance will allow for on farm reservoirs to be positively considered, this will provide farmers with an opportunity to diversify into alternative higher value crops which may not require subsidy or support.
With agricultural subsidies very much “up in the air” after 2020, farmers and rural land owners should continue to assess all of their property assets and diversify wherever possible. As this is likely to involve some form of planning permission, a more positive approach to rural planning is to be welcomed.
The team at SBRice can assist with all forms of rural planning and would be happy to discuss your project.