Planning and development

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Planning permission is required for all Development as defined by Section 55 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990. This includes building and engineering works as well as non-agricultural change of use, eg converting an old pig building into a business unit (although this may now be allowed under Permitted Development).

How this is interpreted at local level is subject to the opinion of the Local Planning Authority (LPA) so it is wise to check with them first. They will consider the size, permanence and physical attachment of a proposed structure to decide if planning permission is required, eg a new farm office may need permission whereas a portacabin on an outdoor pig unit may not. A proposal may be classed as
General Permitted Development which might require a formal notification.

If full permission is required, it is usually recommended to arrange pre-application advice with the LPA to establish how an application may be determined in light of local planning policies, eg a four-bedroom house for a farm manager may be destined for refusal while a three-bedroom cottage may be more acceptable.

LPAs now have to reflect in their policy the National Planning Policy Framework. In addition to re-stating the presumption for development (allowing development unless there is good reason not to), para 28 of the Framework says:

“Planning policies should support economic growth in rural areas in order to create jobs and prosperity by taking a positive approach to sustainable new development.”

Planning applications

Planning applications are made using standardised forms, of which at least four copies are required, along with supporting documentation. This includes plans, a design and access statement and administration fee. 

Environmentally sensitive proposals, including pig units of more than 900 sows or 3000 production pigs over 30 kg may require an Environmental Impact Assessment .

An application for an Agricultural Workers’ Dwelling will need to be accompanied by an Agricultural Appraisal Report. Check with the council if the proposal will be controlled by Building Regulations .

The LPA should determine most applications within 54 days but can only be obliged to do so by the Planning Inspectorate and only if an appeal is made for this. If planning permission is refused, a modified application may be resubmitted addressing any grounds for refusal within six months without any further planning fee.

If planning permission is granted it must be executed within three years or the permission will lapse. Applications can now be made to extend this period for an additional fee.

Planning permission may be subject to a levy or making a ‘contribution’ to the development of the local authority infrastructure. Conditions may also be attached to the permission. If these are not complied with, or the plans submitted with the application are not followed accurately, the LPA can withdraw permission and enforce the removal of the structure concerned.

Applicants should discuss proposals with their local planning officer first. They will be able to confirm the local requirements.