Cheffins Planning team help farmers, landowners, developers, charities, individuals and rural businesses in respect of all aspects of rural development. Our planning advice encompasses new residential development, conversion of farm buildings, affordable housing, permitted development rights, lawful development and Certificates, agricultural occupancy conditions, conservation and heritage, leisure and recreation and agricultural development in the countryside.

Changes in planning legislation policy have created prospects for development in rural areas. We can advise you on the likelihood of obtaining planning permissions for a wide variety of developments, including Permitted Development. In rural areas, we frequently promote new infill housing development, building conversions and redevelopment schemes and we are familiar with various permitted development regimes that apply to agricultural development and changes of use.

We understand that, as well as farming, a wide range of businesses exist in the countryside and such businesses frequently need to expand, relocate, downsize or their nature changes resulting in planning queries. We have helped numerous rural businesses negotiate the planning system including storage and manufacturing businesses, whole industrial estates from converted farm buildings and a variety of businesses operating in the leisure sector. Due diligence may also be required for any business wishing to relocate or set up in a rural area.

Rural development ideas

Rural development ideas include:

  • Alternative use of existing rural buildings – for dwellings or commercial use
  • Leisure development such as ‘glamping’ sites, fishing lakes or wedding venues
  • Residential development – such as village infill, subdivision of dwellings, annexes or affordable housing
  • New agricultural workers’ dwellings and the removal of agricultural occupancy conditions
  • Seeking the allocation of land for development through the local plan process
  • Equestrian development – whether personal or livery or more intense training or veterinary uses
  • Undertaking whole farm or estate appraisals to identify development opportunities
  • Confirming lawfulness through Certificates of Lawful Development

Farm planning permission

We can advise on all aspects of the need for planning permission for agricultural development, whether it’s new agricultural development or alternative use of an existing agricultural property, including the holding of temporary events.

Such developments require consideration of:

  • What is and is not possible under Permitted Development Rights;
  • What, therefore, may require formal planning permission; and
  • How should a project be progressed to maximise prospects for obtaining permission?

Agricultural permitted development rights are notoriously complex and, even where development comprises permitted development, there is often a Prior Approval process that needs to be followed. It may be appropriate to secure an element of a project via Permitted Development Rights and to then expand that by planning application for the development over and above the permitted level. In other words, tactics and strategy may be important.

We have also obtained permission for a number of developments that require formal planning permission in order to qualify for specific grant funding. For example, new farm tracks or silage clamps in nitrate-sensitive areas. Similarly, the local registrar will require that planning permission is in place, or confirmation that it is not required, before granting a civil license for wedding venues.

Barn conversion planning

We have an established track record of securing planning permission for the conversion of barns to both residential and commercial uses. Our track record includes:

  • Numerous ‘Class Q’ changes of use from agriculture to residential;
  • Where necessary, full planning applications for changes of use of agricultural barns to dwellings or commercial uses;
  • Planning applications for the change of use of large farm building complexes to industrial and commercial use;
  • Advice in respect of changing farm buildings to leisure or recreational use;
  • Lawful development certificates to confirm the residential or commercial use of agricultural buildings after a period of time; and, if necessary
  • Enforcement advice and appeals.

Capitalise on rural development opportunities

Our fundamental understanding of planning legislation enables us to advise our clients on opportunities which they may not have previously considered and the prospects of success. In recent years we have advised numerous clients in respect of:

  • The suitability of land for glamping sites and the prospects of obtaining planning permission
  • Promoting small scale development such as infill development dwellings in a domestic garden or subdivision
  • Where relevant, promoting large scale development close to existing towns or villages
  • Overcoming rural occupancy conditions
  • Splitting annexes from host dwellings to allow sale of an independent dwelling
  • Splitting business units from dwellings to allow separate sales and occupations
  • Advice in respect of the potential for wedding venues
  • Addressing planning conditions which constrain business uses or seeking new, more flexible permissions
  • General farm diversification projects

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Our experts
Adam Tuck BSc (Hons) MRICS CPDS
Planning & Development
Edward Clarke BSc (Hons) MSc
Planning & Development
Ruth Gunton BA (Hons) MSc MRTPI
Planning & Development
Emma Thompson BA (Hons) MSc MRTPI
Senior Planner
Planning & Development
Vaughan Bryan BA (Hons), MPhil (Cantab)
Planning & Development