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Extracts from TAN 6

[Technical Advice Notes]


Development Related to Farm Diversification


Farm shops

21. It is normally assumed that, if a farm shop is used only for the sale of unprocessed goods produced on that farm, with a minimal quantity of other goods, that is a use which is ancillary to the use as a farm and therefore does not require specific planning permission. However, use as a farm shop selling a significant amount of produce from elsewhere is a separate use and therefore requires planning permission.

22. The local authority, in considering applications for planning permission for use as a farm shop, may wish to consider the scope for using planning conditions to limit the broad types of produce sold so as to enable permission to be given. For example, in individual cases where the development of an unrestricted retail use on a farm would be likely to result in a significant adverse effect on a nearby village shop.


Farm workshops

23. Use of a building on an agricultural holding as a workshop for the central maintenance of agricultural equipment does not require planning permission where it serves the needs of that farm business. When that building is used to carry out a significant amount of work for other farms, this constitutes a separate use which requires planning permission.


Farm plans

24. Farms plans may usefully support applications relating to farm diversification proposals, although they should not be made a requirement of applicants. They can demonstrate how a proposal fits into the wider farming picture and set out itsenvironmental consequences.


Small farm-based or related operations

25. Small on-farm operations such as food and timber processing and food packing, together with services (eg workshop facilities, equipment hire and maintenance) to other farms, sports and recreation services, and the production of non-food crops and renewable energy, should be encouraged. Local planning authorities should, however, consider the nature and scale of activity that would be appropriate. To help ensure the long-term sustainability of small woodlands, markets for woodland produce should be maintained and developed, and woodland-based enterprise that adds to rural diversification should be encouraged.


Welsh Office Circular, 35/95, 'The Use of Conditions in Planning Permissions’


Permanent agricultural dwellings

41. New permanent dwellings should only be allowed to support existing agricultural activities on well-established agricultural units, providing: (a) there is a clearly established existing functional need; (b) the need relates to a full-time worker, or one who is primarily employed in agriculture, and does not relate to a part-time requirement; (c) the unit and the agricultural activity concerned have been established for at least three years, have been profitable for at least one of them, are currently financially sound, and have a clear prospect of remaining so; (d) the functional need could not be fulfilled by another dwelling already on the unit, or any other existing accommodation in the area which is suitable and available for occupation by the workers concerned; and (e) other normal planning requirements, for example, on siting and access, are satisfied.

42. A functional test is necessary to establish whether it is essential for the proper functioning of the enterprise for one or more workers to be readily available at most times. Such a requirement might arise, for example, if workers are needed to be on hand day and night:

• in case animals or agricultural processes require essential care at short notice;

• to deal quickly with emergencies that could otherwise cause serious loss of crops or products, for example, by frost damage or the failure of automatic systems.

[The functional test is usually associated with livestock such as free range hens. But, beware, half a dozen or even a couple of hundred hens might not fit the bill. The planners can be looking for a few thousand hens generating a turnover of £25,000 and therefore a net income of perhaps £10,000 per year. PPG7 Appendix 1 does make provision for frost protection, so I put an application together on the basis of a stockless horticultural enterprise growing vegetables outdoors and in polytunnels. I emphasised the 7 day a week, 24 hour a day attention needed in raising transplants to

organic standards in terms of watering, ventilation and heating. from Mike Fisher, Land essays 3 planning perm Fisher.html]

43. In cases where the local planning authority is particularly concerned about possible abuse, it may be helpful to investigate the history of the holding to establish the recent pattern of use of land and buildings and whether, for example, any dwellings or buildings suitable for conversion to dwellings have recently been sold separately from the farmland concerned. Such a sale could constitute evidence of lack of agricultural need.

44. The protection of livestock from theft or injury by intruders may contribute on animal welfare grounds to the need for an agricultural dwelling, although it will not by itself be sufficient to justify one. Requirements arising from food processing, as opposed to agriculture, cannot be used to justify an agricultural dwelling.

45. If a functional requirement is established, it will then be necessary to consider the number of workers needed to meet it, for which the scale and nature of the enterprise will be relevant.

46. New permanent accommodation cannot be justified on agricultural grounds unless the farming enterprise is economically viable. A financial test is necessary for this purpose, and to provide evidence of the size of dwelling which the unit can sustain.

47. Agricultural dwellings should be of a size commensurate with the established functional requirement. Dwellings which are unusually large in relation to the agricultural needs of the unit, or unusually expensive to construct in relation to the income it can sustain in the long-term, should not normally be permitted. It is the requirements of the enterprise rather than of the owner or occupier which are relevant to determining the size of dwelling that is appropriate to a particular holding.

48. There will be some cases in which the planning circumstances of the site are such that , if a new permanent dwelling is approved, the local planning authority may wish to consider making permission subject to a condition removing some of the permitted development rights for development within the curtilage of a dwelling house. For example, proposed extensions could result in a dwelling whose size exceeded what could be justified by the functional requirement, and affect the continued viability of maintaining the property for its intended use given the income which the agricultural unit can sustain. However, it will always be preferable for such conditions to restrict the use of specific permitted development rights rather than to be drafted in terms which withdraw all those in a Class.

49. Care should be taken to choose a site which is suitably located to meet the identified functional need and well-related to existing farm buildings or other dwellings. Local planning authorities are able where necessary to control the siting of agricultural buildings erected under permitted development rights (see Annex B). When they are considering the siting of such buildings, the possible need for an agricultural dwelling in connection with them is capable of being a material consideration.

GPDO, Schedule 2, Part 1

Annex to Welsh Office Circular 35/95, 'The Use of Conditions in Planning Permissions', paragraphs 86-90

Development Involving Horses

59. The definition of agriculture includes "the breeding and keeping of livestock" and "the use of land as grazing land". "Livestock" has been held to relate only to livestock bred or kept for agricultural purposes. Land can be said to be used for "grazing" if horses are turned on to it with a view to feeding them from it, but not if they are kept on it for some other purpose (such as exercise or recreation), when grazing is seen as completely incidental and inevitable. A planning application is normally required for the use of land for keeping horses and for equestrian activities, unless they are kept as "livestock" or the land is used for "grazing".

Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Section 336

60. Buildings used for housing horses used in farming qualify as agricultural permitted development, and so benefit from permitted development rights. Stables or loose boxes erected within the curtilage of a dwelling house (ie in a large garden but not a separate paddock) for horses kept as "pet animals......... for the domestic needs or personal enjoyment of the dwelling house" also enjoy permitted development rights. Unless they qualify as permitted development, a planning application is normally required for buildings to house horses.

GPDO, Schedule 2, Part 6

GPDO, Schedule 2, Part 1

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