Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy AG 2 Agricultural and Forestry Development

Policy AG 2 Agricultural and Forestry Development
The provisions of PPS 21 will take precedence over this policy.
To give favourable consideration to necessary agricultural, or forestry development which is appropriate in scale and nature.
In recent decades there have been important changes in the rural landscape. New agricultural practices have led to a change from small traditional agricultural buildings, which tended to blend readily into the rural landscape, to larger buildings which are now often industrial in appearance. There are important issues to be considered regarding the siting, design and materials of modern agricultural buildings and their impact on the rural landscape.
Some agricultural buildings do not require express planning permission. Under the Planning (General Development) Order (NI) 1993, known as the GDO, certain developments for the purposes of agriculture are permitted development. However, there is concern regarding the apparent abuse of permitted development rights, whereby buildings erected allegedly for agricultural purposes have been used for inappropriate non-agricultural activities.
The Department therefore proposes to carry out a review of the planning controls over agricultural and forestry development. Proposals for alterations to the General Development Order will be subject to consultation with interested bodies. It is anticipated that in the light of environmental concerns and the development of policy in Britain and Europe some additional controls may be required. The review will take into account the special operational requirements involved and the Department will seek to avoid the imposition of unnecessary burdens on the farming and forestry industries. Much development in the agricultural and forestry industries is likely to remain within the ambit of "permitted development', after the Department's review.
New buildings or works for agriculture, horticultural or forestry purposes which will require the express grant of planning permission will normally be acceptable in rural areas provided the following criteria are fulfilled:
  • the proposal is appropriate in terms of scale, location and nature;
  • it has been demonstrated that the development is requisite for the efficient use of the agricultural holding or enterprise;
  • where the proposal includes the erection of new buildings that there are no suitable existing redundant buildings on the holding which can be used. In all cases the applicant will be required to show that renovation, alteration or redevelopment opportunities do not exist;
  • the development is not visually intrusive in the local landscape and does not have an adverse impact on the natural or manmade heritage;
  • where possible the proposal is sited adjacent to existing farm buildings and use is made of topography and existing landscaping to screen the buildings. New buildings located away from existing farm groupings are unlikely to be acceptable;
  • the design of the building and the materials used are sympathetic to the locality and blend with adjacent buildings;
  • additional landscaping is provided as necessary;
  • the proposal will not result in an unacceptable loss in the amenity of residential units outside the holding including potential problems arising from noise, smell and pollution; and
  • the development will not be detrimental in terms of traffic generation or road safety
Conditions may be applied to the grant of permission requiring:
  • use only for agricultural purposes; and
  • adequate siting and landscaping and where necessary the use of specified materials and finishes.
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