Dwellings required for the supervision of agricultural businesses and other rural based enterprises is one of the few circumstances individual dwellings can be realised in the open countryside.
National planning policy states isolated homes in the countryside may be permitted in special circumstances, such as an essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work.
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
Paragraph 79 of the NPPF states:
‘To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities. Planning policies should identify opportunities for villages to grow and thrive, especially where this will support local services. Where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby.’
Paragraph 80 of 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;
- b) the development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets;
- c) the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and enhance its immediate setting;
- d) the development would involve the subdivision of an existing residential building; or
- e) the design is of exceptional quality, in that it: – is truly outstanding, reflecting the highest standards in architecture, and would help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; and – would significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.’
Equestrian and Agricultural Business
The equine enterprise entails the breeding of ‘Standardbred horses’ i.e. horses that are bred and used for harness racing, and ‘Sports horses’ which are bred and used for show jumping or eventing.
The agricultural enterprise comprises a small flock of sheep, an integral aspect of the business helping with the management of the grassland, and calves that are purchased, reared, and sold as stores.
Our clients acquired approximately 25 acres (10 hectares) of agricultural land in 2004. Planning permission was subsequently granted for a stabling/storage building and manège. In 2018, a planning application was submitted for a temporary dwelling (mobile home/park home) and an agricultural storage building for the growing needs of the business.
The temporary dwelling was required to support the business with an ‘essential need’ established to live on site. The application was granted for both proposals with the mobile home having permission to be sited for a period of three years. The park home was moved onto the site in 2019, our clients moved in and have lived at the site since. The storage building was erected in summer 2020.
What started out as a hobby activity was developing into a successful full time equestrian/agricultural business.
An application for a livestock building was applied for and granted in Autumn 2020. This demonstrated a firm intention to continue to invest and develop the business. The building was sited adjacent to the other buildings on site.
Permanent New Rural Worker’s Dwelling
With the business thriving and achieving a good level of profitability a permanent rural worker’s dwelling was applied for to replace the park home. The application included an appraisal of the business detailing how it has grown and developed along with copies of the business accounts which demonstrated the profitability of the business and viability in the long term.
The Local Planning Authority assessed the planning application and accepted the business had developed over the last three years as planned which demonstrated that on site residential accommodation continued to be required and a permanent dwelling could be supported by the holding/business.
The application was granted with various conditions including an occupancy condition restricting the dwelling to equestrian and agricultural workers employed on the holding and in the locality.
Our clients are delighted with the outcome and Acorus are currently assisting with discharging the relevant planning conditions with a view to submitting a reserved matters (detailed design) application in due course.