Acorus have recently obtained planning permission for a new agricultural retirement dwelling on an existing 300 acre family run farm which mainly operates an arable unit.
An outline planning application was submitted by Acorus supported by a robust planning statement detailing the requirements of the farm operations and accommodation required. The new bungalow would enable the second farming generation to continue to manage and oversee farming operations and move into the existing larger farmhouse, subject to an agricultural occupancy condition, being more suitable for their growing family needs.
Outline Planning Application
Outline planning applications are used to gain an understanding as to whether the nature of a development is acceptable, this can help ensure viability up front. Specific details known as ‘reserved matters’ can then be confirmed later. Allowing for planning permission to be granted subject to the condition that reserved matters are approved before development begins.
In this case the client wanted to retire and downsize and make way for the next generation. No suitable dwellings were available in the locality so a new second dwelling on the farm was sought. The new bungalow would allow the client to remain on the farm close to family and continue to impart valuable on-hand farming advice to support the family business as and when necessary.
Although it is not possible to argue for a new dwelling for retirement purposes in England, the National Planning Policy Framework does include a provision for those ‘taking majority control of a farm business.’
Appeal cases have successfully argued that where an existing house is occupied legally and legitimately by a retired person, that dwelling can be discounted in any assessment regarding the availability of dwellings on a farm holding.
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) & Planning Practice Guidance
Paragraph 80a of Section Five, Delivering a Sufficient Supply of Homes, of the NPPF states:
‘Planning policies and decisions should avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside unless one or more of the following circumstances apply:
(a) there is an essential need for a rural worker, including those taking majority control of a farm business, to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside; ….’
In addition to the above, Planning Practice Guidance, deals with ‘How can the need for isolated homes in the Countryside for essential rural workers be assessed?’ It states:
‘Considerations to take into account when applying Paragraph 80a of the NPPF could include….
Whether the provision of an additional dwelling on site is essential for the continued viability of a farming business through the farm succession process.’
New Agricultural Bungalow Design
The Acorus inhouse design and drawing team designed an agricultural dwelling to support the needs of the client including featuring suitable provisions for an aging occupant.
Larger walkways suitable for wheelchair use were included for example along with other appropriate design features.
Acorus are now dealing with the reserved matters of the outline application following the planning permission which granted construction of a new agricultural bungalow subject to an agricultural occupancy condition.
The new bungalow is located within the curtilage of the farmhouse with suitable landscaping and other measures in place in keeping with the overall landscape.