We have this week won an Appeal decision that allows the re-contouring of grazing land using inert soils and clays which will enable a small family farm in Buckinghamshire to diversify into planting an orchard with a view to starting an apple juice business.
Whilst the Inspector concluded that the scheme went against the adopted waste management policy, he considered that the proposed orchard would have a neutral effect on the local landscape and the regrading work, due to its small scale, would not put other local sites at risk.
The Inspector acknowledged that the regrading of the land would allow the farm to diversify and would help to compensate for the loss of farming subsidies which are being phased out completely by 2027. The planting of the orchard would not be possible on the land without the regrading work due to the steep topography and Paragraphs 81 & 84 of the NPPF were a fundamental consideration in the weighing up of the planning balance. Paragraph 84 states that policies and decisions should enable to development and diversification of agricultural and other land-based rural businesses.
Due to the small scale of the infilling, the Inspector only gave moderate weight to the conflict with the MWLP however, the economic benefits that the scheme would give to a small family farm would be significant and his conclusion therefore was to allow the appeal and grant permission for the scheme to proceed.