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Farm Planning Precisely
2012-11-26

Considering erecting a new farm building, extending one you already have or completing any drastic repairs? The idea of applying for planning permission for any project, no matter how big or small can seem a bit daunting. The process can appear time consuming, costly and occasionally futile but there is a point to it and it may not be as difficult as you think, as Neil Henderson, Planning Specialist with H&H Land and Property explains.

Neil Henderson

Neil Henderson

As farmers or landowners there are a number of decisions to be made regarding planning on your property, whether it be on farm extensions, repairs or a completely new outbuilding you may need to seek planning permission for even something you may consider insignificant alterations. If you are considering erecting a new agricultural building or extending an existing one then it is likely you will need some form of permission from the local planning authority. Avoiding planning permission can result in difficult repercussions and you may find yourself forced to stop any works with only half the job done.

Understanding the system makes the task far less daunting and breaking it down may be the easiest way to go about it. The simplest way is through what is known as the notification of intention procedure (or NOI).

The NOI simple requires submission of limited details to your local council of what you intend to do, including the size of the building, a site location plan and the proposed materials. You will also be required to pay a small fee which is currently £70. Following this, the council must respond within 28 days to advise you if they need further details. If they do not then you can proceed. Neil warns that if you do not inform authority before you start work then you will not be able to use this simplified procedure.

He also says that there are limits as to what can be carried out under NOI. If the building is in excess of 465 square metres or if it holds livestock and is within 400m of a house not part of a farm, then a full planning application will be required. Farmers should contact their local planning authority or a planning consultant to check that what they are proposing meets the various criteria set out in law.

A full application usually requires more information including detailed plans. The fee is also £70 for up to 465 square metres of floor space but for anything bigger there is unfortunately a sliding scale of fees. A planning authority has eight weeks to determine the outcome of the application. Most agricultural building applications are relatively strait forward so the majority will be determined quickly, but after the eight week period if no decision has been reached then the applicant has the right to appeal on the grounds of non-determination. However, it is very rare for applicants to exercise this right because appeals can be expensive and can take a long time to come to a decision.

The local authority will publicise the application, by letter, site notice or both. Virtyally all authorities also publish applications on their websites so that people can see what is proposed. A planning officer will consider all the issues and any comments received and make a recommendation as to whether the application should be refused or approved. Then you will be informed in writing of the outcome.

So while the process may seem difficult and time consuming, assuming your plans are going to have no outstanding effect on the environment or visual landscape the entire process can be dealt with within the 8 week period, costing no more than your initial £70 fee. Advisors can ensure that your plans are likely to pass and advise you of any revisions they recommend, they can also talk you through the application process minimising the time you spend at the desk sorting through paperwork.

From application to appeal H&H Land and Property’s expert advisors can guide you through the entire process. For more information contact H&H Land and Property on 01228 406 260.

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