September Professional Ponderings

Added on September 5, 2018 in Recent News


September Professional Ponderings

As we say goodbye to the heatwave that hit the UK this summer we also say goodbye to a relatively fruitful harvest for most, with some having a last minute rush towards the end, as the good weather dissipates.

This edition of the ponderings falls upon the Planning and Development team and a first for me as relatively new member! I will be working as a rural surveyor between the Planning and Development team and the Agricultural team. So if you need any advice or queries on a matter which may fall into either of those two categories, please do give me a call.

I thought I would give you a roundup of the latest planning updates since we last produced the Ponderings. Firstly, there have been key changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF was originally produced in 2012 and summarised 1000 pages of guidance into just 50 – a blessing for those that have to read it on a daily basis! It sets out the Government’s planning policy,  how it is should be applied at a local level, and is a material consideration to all planning applications. Changes have been made to this as of July 2018, perhaps the most relevant being the increased pressure on Local Authorities to meet their housing targets, by identifying potential sites and then seeing that they are actually delivered. This will open opportunities around the area, so please do let us know if you have a site which you might like us to assess.

Secondly, we turn to Entry Level Exception Sites. These have also been introduced in the new NPPF as opportunities to site housing for entry level, discounted homes, suitable for first time buyers. Although clarification is required, it is assumed that some form of market housing will be allowed on these exception sites to ensure viability for landowners. Sites must be located adjacent to existing settlements and on areas not already allocated for housing. The critical point is that these sites are not tied in to a Local Authority’s five year housing supply and there is no need to demonstrate a general shortfall in housing, as long as there is a need for this type of dwelling. Therefore, new opportunities may arise, in areas that were not previously identified for development.

Lastly, we conclude with an important reminder of the changes to the Permitted Development Rights. As of the 6th April 2018 it is now possible to provide up to five new dwellings on an agricultural unit (from the previous three) through the conversion of existing agricultural buildings. This can be in the form of three large dwellings with a cumulative floor area, no greater than 465 sqm, or up to five smaller dwellings, each no greater than 100 sqm. Alternatively, a mix of larger and smaller dwellings could be considered, subject to the maximum limit of five.

Additionally, new agricultural buildings can now be constructed on a holding, with a floor area of up to 1000 sqm, increased from 465 sqm, under the 28 day prior notification procedure, rather than requiring a full planning application. The process should be simpler and involve a relatively quick turnaround. If this has made your building projects look more appealing and viable, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The new NPPF seems to indicate a promising shift in the Government’s attitude towards development in rural areas, potentially opening new opportunities for diversification of your farming business across the board.

If you have any queries, or this has sparked an idea you may have for your own farm, please do get in touch.

Ginni Farbon- Rural Surveyor

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