Planning for diversification

Property Posted 15/03/19
Diversification is not only a way of raising farm income it can be a way of offering added value to a product, increasing capital value in assets, utilising redundant buildings/land and perhaps, in light of the Agricultural Bill, a way of replacing an otherwise previously reliable form of subsidised income all together?

While many factors will influence your diversification options, for many, planning will seem like the biggest inhibitor to change. But, with sound advice that really shouldn’t be the case.

Bloomfields have widely reported on the ability to use permitted development rights to achieve houses from storage buildings, offices, farm buildings and light industrial buildings. For those that dare, these have proved worthwhile ventures to have embarked on and ones which should still not be overlooked. Similarly, the headlines of “Council not able to deliver housing numbers” should not be seen as fake news, as there is clear opportunity to promote sites and challenge Council’s claims of deliverability.

Putting aside the utilisation of diversification to achieve residential uses, there are many options otherwise widely underutilised for changing uses of buildings without having to promote a case through the full planning application system. Instead, the Prior Notification framework can be used to advance proposals with the provision of less information (=less costs!) and with quicker resolution.

With subsidy replacement in limbo, it appears diversification options may become instrumental to many businesses beyond just “raising” farm incomes. Don’t however let the planning system be an excuse for not pursuing your diversification, as the opportunities are perhaps greater than you think – it’s just more a case of knowing what they are and how to navigate them.


TOM OGDEN BSc (Hons) MRICS MBIAC AssocRTPI DIRECTOR OF BLOOMFIELDS CHARTERED TOWN PLANNERS AND LAMBERT & FOSTER Email. tom.ogden@bloomfieldsltd.co.uk www.bloomfieldsltd.com


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