Planning System: A Farmers Guide (02PD00188)

B. Permitted development rights

B.1 The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (‘the GPDO’) grants a general planning permission (known as ‘permitted development rights’) for certain types of development. This means that a specific planning application is not needed if your project falls within one of the categories set out in the GPDO and meets all the conditions laid down. However, in some cases, as explained below, you must apply to the planning authority for a ‘determination’ as to whether its prior approval is needed for details such as the siting, design and external appearance of the proposed development.

B.2 This Appendix provides a summary of permitted development rights that may be of benefit to farmers seeking to develop their existing agricultural businesses or diversify. It must not be relied upon as a replacement for the full text of the GPDO which can be purchased from your local Stationery Office stockist. The GPDO is frequently amended and you should therefore check that, where appropriate, you obtain the up to date text for the relevant Part.

B.3 Specific planning permission is not needed for:

i) The use of land (but not any buildings) for any purpose (other than a caravan site) for not more than twenty-eight days in a year. However, for motor cycle or car racing, and markets (including car boot sales), only fourteen days a year are permitted. In Sites of Special Scientific Interest there are no permitted development rights for temporary uses of land for war games, clay pigeon shooting or any motor sports. (Part 4 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO refers).

ii) Building, excavation or engineering operations designed for agricultural purposes (including those in connection with fish farming) on agricultural land in an agricultural unit of 5 hectares or more which are reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture within the unit, provided that:

  • the development is not carried out on a separate parcel of land less than 1 hectare in area forming part of the unit;
  • the ground area of any building, structure or works does not exceed 465 square metres (less if it is within 90 metres of any other building, structure or works provided within the preceding two years);
  • the building, structure or works is not higher than 12 metres, or 3 metres if within 3 kilometres of the perimeter of an aerodrome;
  • the development is more than 25 metres from a trunk or classified road;
  • the development does not involve the erection, extension or alteration of a dwelling;
  • if the building, structure or excavation is within 400 metres of the curtilage of a ‘protected building’, it is not to be used for the accommodation of livestock (including farmed fish and shellfish) or for the storage of slurry or sewage sludge. (‘Protected building’ means a permanent building normally occupied by people, but does not include buildings within the agricultural unit, or any dwelling or building in agricultural use on any other agricultural unit);
  • if you are erecting a new building, forming a private way, carrying out excavations or depositing waste material, or placing or assembling a tank in any waters, you have applied to your local planning authority for a determination as to whether its prior approval will be required for certain details (see B.4 below);
  • if you are extending or altering a building:
    – you have not previously made a ‘significant’ extension or alteration to it under permitted development rights (‘significant’ means where the cubic content of the original would be exceeded by more than 10%, or the height of the original building would be increased);
    – if it is located in a National Park or certain adjoining areas, you have applied to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether its prior approval will be required to the details (see B.4);
    – if it is located elsewhere, and the extension or alteration is ‘significant’, you have applied to the local planning authority for a determination.
  • if the development involves the extraction of any mineral from the land, or the removal of any mineral from any mineral-working deposit, the mineral is not moved off the unit;
  • it does not involve bringing waste materials on to the land from elsewhere for deposit, except for use ‘forthwith’ in building works, or in the creation of a hard surface;
  • it does not involve excavation or engineering operations connected with fish farming in a National Park or certain adjoining areas. (Class A of Part 6 of Schedule2 to the GPDO refers).

(But where the use for agricultural purposes of buildings erected, significantly extended or significantly altered under agricultural permitted development rights permanently ceases within ten years of their substantial completion, and planning permission has not authorised development for non-agricultural purposes within three years of this cessation (and there is no outstanding appeal), the development must be removed unless the local planning authority have otherwise agreed in writing. In these cases, the land must, so far as is practicable, be restored to its former condition, unless you and the local planning authority have agreed otherwise in writing).

iii) Certain limited types of development on agricultural land in an agricultural unit of not less than 0.4 but less than 5 hectares (including the extension or alteration of an agricultural building; installation of additional or replacement plant or machinery; provision, rearrangement or replacement of a sewer, main pipe, cable or private way; creation of a hard surface; deposit of waste; and certain repair and installation operations connected with fish farming) which are reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture in that unit, provided that:

  • the development is not carried out on a separate parcel of land less than 0.4 hectare in area forming part of the unit;
  • it does not materially affect the external appearance of the premises;
  • the development is not within 25 metres of a trunk or classified road;
  • in the case of the extension or alteration of an agricultural building (and the erection of a new building within the curtilage of an existing building will be treated as an extension of the existing building):
    – no part of the new building is more than 30 metres from the existing building;
    – the height of the building is not increased;
    – the cubic content of the building is not increased by more than 10%;
    – the work does not involve the extension, alteration or provision of a dwelling;
    – the ground area of any building extended (or treated as extended) does not exceed 465 square metres;
    – no part of the development is carried out within 5 metres of any boundary of the unit.
  • if it involves the carrying out of works to a building or structure used, or to be used, for the accommodation of livestock (including farmed fish and shellfish) or the storage of slurry or sewage sludge, that building is not within 400 metres of the curtilage of a ‘protected building’ (ie: a permanent building normally occupied by people, but not including buildings within the agricultural unit, or any dwelling or building in agricultural use on any other agricultural unit);
  • if it involves the extension or alteration of a building or the provision, rearrangement or replacement of a private way located in a National Park or certain adjoining areas, you have applied to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether its prior approval will be required for certain details (see B.4 below);
  • it does not relate to the placing or assembly of a fish farming tank on land or in any waters, the construction of a fish pond, or an increase in the size of a tank or pond;
  • it does not involve bringing waste material on to the land from elsewhere for deposit, except for use ‘forthwith’ in building works, the creation of a hard surface or private way;
  • the ground area of any hardstanding does not exceed 465 square metres (less if it is within 90 metres of any building, structure or works provided within the preceding two years);
  • no additional or replacement plant or machinery is higher than 12 metres (3 metres if within 3 kilometres of an aerodrome); no replacement plant or machinery is higher than that which it replaces, and the ground area of any additional or replacement plant or machinery does not exceed 465 square metres (less if it is within 90 metres of any building, structure or works provided within the preceding two years). (Class B of Part 6 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO refers).

(But where the use for agricultural purposes of buildings significantly extended or significantly altered under agricultural permitted development rights permanently ceases within ten years of their substantial completion, and planning permission has not authorised development for non-agricultural purposes within three years of this cessation (and there is no outstanding appeal), the development must be removed unless the local planning authority have otherwise agreed in writing. In such cases, the land must, so far as is practicable, be restored to its former condition, unless you and the local planning authority have otherwise agreed in writing).

iv) The winning and working on land held or occupied with land used for the purposes of agriculture of any minerals reasonably necessary for agricultural purposes within the agricultural unit of which it forms part, provided that:

  • the excavation is more than 25 metres from a trunk or classified road;
  • no extracted mineral is moved off the agricultural unit. (Class C of Part 6 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO refers).

v) The use of land (but not a building) as a caravan site in certain circumstances. These include:

  • use for stationing a single touring caravan for no more than two consecutive nights and for no more than twenty-eight days in a year;
  • use for stationing up to three caravans on a holding of at least 5 acres for no more than twenty-eight nights in a year;
  • use as a caravan site of land occupied by an exempted organisation (eg. Caravan Club), or use for not more than five caravans at a time of a site certified by an exempted organisation, or use as a caravan site for not more than five nights for a meeting organised by an exempted organisation for its members;
  • seasonal stationing of caravans as accommodation for agricultural or forestry workers, and;
  • use as a caravan site for travelling showmen whilst travelling (but not as winter quarters). In addition, a site licence under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 is not required in any of these circumstances. (Part 5 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO refers).

vi) The erection, extension or alteration of buildings (except dwellings), or the formation, alteration or maintenance of private ways, where reasonably necessary for forestry purposes, but so long as the height of any buildings or works within 3 kilometres of an aerodrome does not exceed 3 metres, and so long as the development does not take place within 25 metres of a trunk or classified road. These forestry permitted development rights are subject to the determination procedure described in B.4 & 5 below. (Part 7 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO refers).

vii) The erection, construction, maintenance, improvement or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure, provided that the height does not exceed one metre where it is constructed adjacent to a highway used for vehicular traffic, or two metres elsewhere, and the setting of a listed building is not affected. (Class A of Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO refers).

viii) The recreational or instructional use of land, and the pitching of tents, by organisations such as the Scouts, Guides, Boys Brigade, Church Lads Brigade, Salvation Army, Army Cadets, Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club. (Part 27 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO refers).

THE ‘DETERMINATION PROCEDURE’

B.4 Under the ‘determination procedure’ set out in the GPDO, the local planning authority has 28 days to decide whether its prior approval will be required for:

  • the siting, design and external appearance of agricultural or forestry buildings;
  • the siting and means of construction of a private way;
  • the siting of excavations or waste deposits with an area exceeding 0.5 hectare; and
  • the siting and appearance of fish tanks.

B.5 Where this procedure applies, your local planning authority will be able to supply you with the appropriate notification form. You should complete and return this form with a description of the proposed development, including the materials to be used and a site plan. The local planning authority has 28 days in which to decide whether or not its prior approval is required. If it tells you that its prior approval is not required, you may go ahead in accordance with the details that you submitted. If you have not been informed of the authority’s decision within 28 days of the date of the authority receiving the notification, you should contact the authority to confirm whether or not it has taken a decision. If the authority confirms that it has not reached a decision within this period, you may proceed with the development, as notified to the authority.

B.6 In those cases where you are informed that the local planning authority’s prior approval is required, you must, within one week of receiving notice from the local planning authority, put up a site notice in the prescribed form on or near the land, which must stay up for at least three weeks. Further details about site notices are given in paragraphs 9, 10, 31 and 32 of DOE Circular 15/92, obtainable from The Stationery Office, Publications Centre, PO Box 276, London SW8 5DT (Tel: 0870 600 5522). The planning authority has eight weeks from the receipt of the submitted details to issue its decision.

B.7 If approval is refused, or is granted subject to conditions with which you disagree, or if the decision is not taken within eight weeks, you will have the right of appeal to the First Secretary of State (at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister). There is, however, no right of appeal against the decision of a local planning authority to require approval of details.

B.8 Further details of this procedure are given in Annex E of PPG 7 (see Appendix A, paragraph A.1, of this guide for advice on how to obtain a copy).

B.9 In operating these provisions, local planning authorities will have due regard to the operational needs of agricultural businesses and the need to avoid imposing any unnecessary or excessively costly requirements. However, they will also need to consider the effect of the development on the landscape in terms of visual amenity and the desirability of preserving ancient monuments and their settings, known archaeological sites, listed buildings and their settings, and sites of recognised nature conservation value (ie. SSSIs and Local Nature Reserves). It is, therefore, essential that you give careful consideration to these points in drawing up your proposals. Your local planning authority may be able to provide you with guidelines on the principles it would wish to be taken into account in preparing details of the siting,  design and appearance of the proposed development.

B.10 You should be aware that permitted development rights provided under the GPDO do not obviate the need to obtain other consents (eg., from English Nature) where appropriate (see paragraphs 6.7 – 6.10 of this Guide).

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