PPS 4: Industrial Development
Development Control: Enterprises on Farm Holdings
38. The retention of farmers and their families on their holdings is important, not only to retain the social structure of rural areas, but also to maintain the valuable countryside management role performed by the farming community. Changes in agricultural economics have led many farmers to look for sources of income to supplement that derived from farming. The Department will facilitate the process of agricultural diversification by giving favourable consideration to industrial enterprises which are of an appropriate scale and nature, and can be satisfactorily integrated into the rural landscape. Within Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas (as defined in the Rural Planning Strategy and in development plans), diversification proposals will normally be acceptable only where they are contained within visually enclosed areas or involve the re-use of redundant farm buildings.
39. Planning permission may be granted for the re-use of redundant farm buildings for small-scale industrial purposes, provided the Department is satisfied about the following matters:
- that the building was previously in agricultural use for a reasonable period of time;
- that it is no longer required for agricultural purposes;
- that the use can be largely contained within the existing building; and
- that any alterations to the building are relatively minor and that their design and materials respect its architectural style.
Where permission is given for the conversion of a building which is part of an agricultural holding, permitted development rights for new farm buildings on that holding may be withdrawn.
40. Outside Green Belts and Countryside Policy Areas, new buildings for industrial enterprises on farm holdings may be acceptable if they are small- scale and can be satisfactorily integrated into an existing group of farm buildings. A new building separate from any existing group of buildings will be approved in exceptional circumstances only. Such circumstances may include the following:
- where the proposed use would result in nuisance problems for an existing dwelling;
- where an additional building would give rise to or exacerbate access or servicing difficulties at the existing group of buildings; or where a location separate from the existing building group would permit the proposed development to be more satisfactorily integrated into the landscape.
41. It should be noted that it is the Department's policy to restrict accesses onto selected roads which have been designated as Protected Routes - see paragraphs 21 to 32 of Planning Policy Statement 3 - "Development Control: Roads Considerations".