Farm Attractions


Tourism in rural Britain is booming, not only overnight accommodation but day trip tourism is benefitting from increasing spend year on year. Consumer behaviour is changing, away from products and material goods ownership and instead seeking ways of spending time with their families and friends in ‘experiences’ – and this includes visitor attractions in rural locations. Farm parks in particular have been extremely popular, along with destination farm shops, retail and food and drink.

In pursuit of setting up your new business, the planning process can seem like a daunting hurdle to overcome. Whilst in most cases we would anticipate support of tourism proposals, the devil is in the detail and hugely dependent on the site. There are a few what we call ‘dealbreakers’; things which can unfortunately mean planning is unachievable. As well as the dealbreakers, there are several other factors which have to be carefully considered and explained to the Council to make sure it complies, and 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?

You can change the use of land or a building (using it for a different purpose to the one it has permission for, most frequently agriculture) for up to 28 days per year without the need for planning permission. For example if you want to open for 4 weekends a year this would likely equate to say 16 days (two days preparation and two days open) which you could do without planning permission.

Anything over 28 days will need permission. (There are a couple of exemptions where the 28 days rule does not apply, so please check out our guide on 28 days which can be found here.)

If you want to build anything in association with your change of use, for example a toilet block or any new building, it will require planning permission.

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 – visitor attractions

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 visitor attractions:

  • Likelihood of flooding
  • Highways safety and impact
  • Impact on public rights of way
  • Impact on designations such as Green Belt 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 new equestrian projects like this, and helping you along the journey to bringing your personal aspirations or 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 consultancy and can help with grants and business plans.