Planning Changes – New Opportunities For Rural Businesses

16th May 2013

The Government has recently announced that they will be bringing new permitted development rights for agricultural buildings into place on 30th May 2013. The new regulations will allow for redundant farm buildings or those which are no longer suitable for or required for agricultural uses to be used in the future for a host of non-agricultural purposes such as shops, restaurants and cafes, offices, storage and distribution, hotels or assembly and leisure. Planning permission will not be required for these changes but the landowner will need to apply to their local council for prior approval.

Application fees for prior/notification approval are significantly less than an equivalent planning application. Another benefit is that neighbours will not have an opportunity to object and the decision is issued within 28 days as opposed to 8 weeks or 13 weeks for normal planning applications.

A few points to note:

  • The proposed changes do not allow for change of use to residential from agricultural use

  • The new regulations apply to buildings of up to 500 sq m only. The buildings in question must have been solely in agricultural use since 3rd July 2012 and the provisions do not apply to listed buildings or scheduled monuments

For buildings between 150sq m and the 500 sq m threshold the Local Authority are required to have regard to transport, noise, contamination, and flood risk prior to issuing the prior approval.

Another new and interesting provision in the regulations for those of you who own offices and feel there may be demand in your area for new housing stock, is that the new system allows for a change of use from office to residential in certain circumstances. The offices in question must be lawful (i.e. benefit from planning consent) and have been occupied as offices in the past.

We recommend that farmers and other land owners with buildings which may be suitable for conversion have regard to the new regulations as such a project may provide a valuable source of additional income to a farm business.

If you wish to discuss a potential project on your farm or land holding, please give Killian Gallagher a call at George F White’s Shiptonthorpe office on 01430 876010.

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