Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

Farm Diversification

9.63 Planning Policy Statement 7, Sustainable Development in Rural Areas and PPS4, Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth, recognise that diversification from the dependence on production of agricultural commodities into non-agricultural activities, is vital to the continuing viability of many existing farm enterprises. The District Council is keen to support development that delivers diverse and sustainable farming enterprises, for example: farm shops, Bed and Breakfast and leasing of land or buildings to other non-agricultural businesses. It is important that proposals for diversification bring long-term and genuine benefits to individual farming enterprises and the wider rural area.

9.64 In encouraging economic diversity and agricultural diversification, it is important that the countryside is not spoilt by the unfettered development of an inappropriate and unwarranted nature. Therefore diversification proposals should be of a scale and nature appropriate for the location and be capable of satisfactory integration into the rural landscape. Such proposals should have regard to the amenity of neighbours, both residents and other businesses that may be adversely affected by new types of on-farm development.

9.65 In some instances when a scheme is successful it can grow to such a limit, which would make it unacceptable and whilst the Local Authority would not wish to limit the growth of a successful business, consideration should be given to the potential impact on the character of the rural location. Also, in more isolated locations, difficulties may arise in terms of access and traffic activity and development may require the need to promote and advertise and therefore signage may also become an issue.

9.66 Proposals must be accompanied by a comprehensive farm diversification plan, which indicates how new uses will assist in retaining the viability of the farm and the agricultural enterprise, and how it links with any other short or long term business plans for the farm.

Policy EP9 Farm Diversification

Proposals for development for the purpose of farm diversification within established agricultural holdings will be permitted if they comply with the following criteria:

  • The character, scale and type of proposal is compatible with its location and landscape setting;
  • A development will not be allowed to proceed unless it can be demonstrated that it will not result in any adverse impacts to the integrity of internationally designated sites;
  • They form part of a comprehensive farm diversification scheme and are operated as part of a viable farm holding and contribute to making the holding viable;
  • Appropriately located existing buildings should be re-used where possible; and
  • Where new or replacement development is required it is in scale with the surroundings and well related to any existing buildings on the site.