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Many farmers are looking to start or expand existing agricultural and non-agricultural enterprises and considering profitable diversification.

The Planning System regulates the use of land and buildings in the public interest by ensuring that the right kind of development occurs in the right place and that any permitted development is sustainable for the environment and the local area.

When you apply to the local authority for Planning Permission (usually either the council or a National Park Planning Authority) they’ll look at it in the context of national planning policy guidance, which has been prepared by Central Government, and in accordance with their own Local Development Plan. They’ll also consider the size of the proposed development, the layout, siting, design, external appearance of the buildings, proposed use of the buildings, means of access, landscaping, impact on the neighbourhood and overall effect on roads and services.

The Local Plan looks at priorities for development on a more regional basis and should comprise a series of documents setting out clear guidance on what development will and will not, be permitted within your area. It identifies where development should take place and when it should happen during the life of the relevant plan.

It’s useful to talk to your local planning authority about your proposals before any application and seek professional advice about whether or not they constitute development within the legal definition and if so, whether you need Planning Permission or whether they fall within general development rights known as Permitted Development Rights.

If you need permission, you need to make sure you’ve prepared the ground before you apply and considered the impact of your development and the various points previously mentioned.  Only then should you complete and submit your Planning Application form.

Once you’ve submitted your application, it will be considered within agreed time limits and made public. Anybody has the right to comment on your application and it may well be that you’re advised to go for Public Consultation depending on the scale of the application. It may be decided by staff in the local Planning Department Office, or it may go to a full Council meeting where you’ll have the right to attend and speak. Hopefully, the outcome will be positive, but you may have to prepare for an appeal to the Secretary of State to get the permission that you need.

Talk to your solicitor or other advisor who can give you advice and guidance on planning regulations and planning permission.

Get in touch – Catherine Whittles has many years’ experience in advising on development and planning. Bowcock & Pursaill are members of the Agricultural Law Association.

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