The British agricultural industry has faced an awful lot of challenges in recent years, and now more than ever it’s crucial to step back and really think about what your farm needs for it to be able to work for you in the best possible way. There are so many opportunities out there, but often these require changes to buildings to improve efficiency, welfare, productivity or capacity, whether that is to support the core farming enterprise or maximise your options for diversification.

Maybe you’d like to convert your traditional buildings but still need the storage space for the farm? Or perhaps they are hemmed in by modern buildings which could be moved to a better functional site?

Development could include:

  • Livestock buildings
  • Grain stores
  • Machinery or general purpose stores
  • Extensions to existing buildings
  • Replacement buildings
  • Relocation of buildings, or even relocation of an entire farmyard

In pursuit of improving your business, the planning process can seem like a daunting hurdle to overcome. While justified agricultural buildings are generally supported in most cases, there can be a few ‘dealbreakers’; things which can unfortunately mean planning is unachievable. As well as the these, there are several other factors which have to be carefully considered and explained to the Local Planning Authority to make sure it complies, and so that permission can be secured. Our favourite phrase is ‘get your ducks in a row’, with preparation being key to a successful application.

Is planning permission required?

There’s a common misconception that you don’t need planning permission for agricultural buildings. Although not all types of development require ‘full planning’, there is almost always a formal process that does need to be followed with your Local Planning Authority. National legislation includes permitted development rights for certain operations which are ‘reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture’ within the farming unit. However, even if your project does fall under this, often a prior notification process has to be followed (sometimes referred to as a “28 day notice”).

Our advice would always be to assume that you do need permission and check in advance of doing any works, rather than steaming ahead and then finding out that there’s a problem further down the line. View further information resources here

What is the process for this type of application?

Read about the planning process here

What are the main issues that need to be overcome?

Principle of the proposal – agricultural buildings

We have to firstly make sure the Local Planning Authority are happy with the proposal in principle, asking the question - does the development meet local and national planning policy? As well as the principle, there are lots of other factors that come into planning for agricultural buildings:

  • Likelihood of flooding
  • Highways safety and impact
  • Landscape and visual impact
  • Impact on public rights of way
  • Impact on designations such as Green Belt or AONBs
  • Noise
  • Neighbour amenity
  • Ecology

Other factors have to be thought very carefully about:

  • Design
  • Materials
  • Scale
  • Use
  • Siting
  • Drainage

How The Rural Planning Co can help

We LOVE getting involved with exciting projects like this, and helping you along the journey to bringing your business plans and dreams to fruition. With many years specialising in this sector, we believe that engaging an experienced and proactive consultant can reduce the stress, time and cost of the process and above all gives you the best chance of success.

Read our pricing here

Read about the planning process here

Read ‘how we work’ here

Read about us here

Find case studies here

Here are some links to more business help on The Business Barn website.

Our other business Moule & Co specialises in rural professional and agricultural consultancy and can help with farming subsidies, grants, business plans, tenancy issues, valuations and more.