2014-03-19  

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TFA Wins Planning Protection for Farm Tenants

The Tenant Farmers Association is pleased that the Government has listened to its concerns over the extension of permitted rights to develop farm buildings into houses and has agreed to important safeguards to protect farm tenants.

The TFA was the only organisation to raise these concerns with the Government, underlining the importance of the Association in providing a dedicated voice on behalf of the tenanted sector of agriculture.

Farm Buildings

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TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said “Residential development is always a lucrative business and with the Government wanting to allow farm buildings to be turned into houses without full planning consent, without safeguards for tenants, landlords would be keen to wrestle buildings out of tenancies to profit from the new rules.”

“The TFA is therefore pleased that the Government has agreed not to allow development of farm buildings into houses to be permitted where there is an existing agricultural tenancy and where the landlord has not obtained the consent of the farm tenant. Landlords will also need to obtain consent from outgoing tenants where use of permitted development rights occurs within one year of the expired tenancy agreement,” said Mr Dunn.

However, the TFA is disappointed that the Government will not extend this protection to change of use for commercial development.

Permitted development rights were previously extended to allow the change of use of agricultural buildings into commercial activities. Despite the TFA raising concerns at the time, the Government took no action to protect farm tenants. The fault here apparently lies with DEFRA which advised the Department for Communities and Local Government that such protection was unnecessary.

“Fearful of appearing re-regulatory, the Government has decided not to restrict previously awarded permitted development rights. Sadly we are seeing cases where landlords are attempting to remove buildings from tenant farmers where permitted development rights have been obtained. Whilst it seems crazy not to have the same rules apply as will be the case for residential development, the TFA blames DEFRA for its poor advice to its DCLG colleagues at the time. However, the TFA will continue to press for the rules to be aligned in keeping with those for residential development,” said Mr Dunn.

TFA

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