Making sure you have the best laid plans
“I assume this farm building doesn’t need planning?”
“I’m replacing a shed on the same footprint, does this fall outside planning?”
It is still a common misconception that farm buildings don’t need any consent from the local planning authority. However, it is almost certain that the planning authority will need to be informed of any type of development or change of use. This may be through the submission of a full application or prior notification.
While planning policy, both local and national, tends to favour the construction of farm buildings, careful consideration needs to be given to a number of factors.
The planning authority will assess the suitability of the proposed building's siting, size, appearance, impact on the local area, together with other salient criteria. An applicant should also consider the medium to long-term farm strategy.
For example, where will the next building be built? Is this building going to be big enough in five years’ time?
When looking at the construction of a farm building, the main two types of submissions are a full planning application or prior notification.
Prior notification for agricultural buildings is covered under The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) – Schedule 2, Part 6. A prior notification can only be submitted on farm buildings up to 1,000 square metres and must meet a long list of other criteria, for example distance from road, proposed use, distance from other dwelling, height, and so on.
Once validated, the local planning authority has just 28 days to let the applicant know either that a full application is required or of its decision to allow or refuse approval. This gives a defined and relatively short time scale for the process.
A full application has the potential to be rather more involved, with a longer application form, site plans, elevation drawings and design and access statement being the bare minimum requirement.
There may also be the requirement for further specialist reports, including environmental impact assessments, flood risk assessments, sound/noise reports, to name but a few.
Although the time frames are longer than that of a prior notification, the planning authority should always issue a target determination date by which point it will aim to make its decision.
The overriding planning principle when considering any form of farm development should be to consider not if it needs consent, but the type of consent required.
Finally, plan ahead and take advice from your surveyor on the best way forward.
Dan Bowden MRICS, FAAV is a Partner of Barbers Rural Consultancy LLP