Farmers in northern Devon can now benefit from new guidance before submitting planning applications thanks to a new document from North Devon and Torridge district councils.
The councils have produced the Planning Advice for Farmers guidance document to assist those in the agriculture industry with the submission of planning applications, as well providing advice on permitted development for farm businesses.
It gives advice on what when applications are required and what a good planning application looks at with respect to new farm buildings, slurry storage and engineering operations.
It also looks at what is required for those looking to diversify their business, including through renewable energy, the conversion of buildings, or development for tourism.
The guidance has been put together following discussions with North Devon Plus and the National Farmers Union, as well as local farmers from across northern Devon. While the document is not formal planning policy, it is intended to act as signposting guidance for farmers.
Lead Member for Economic Development and Strategic Planning Policy at North Devon Council, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, says: "We know the planning system is not always the easiest to navigate, and with changes to how farm subsidy payments are received, we felt it would be useful as district councils to produce guidance for our local agricultural industry to make it that bit easier for those looking to adapt, expand or diversify their business. We hope our farming communities find it useful."
Lead Member for Planning at Torridge District Council, Councillor Rosemary Lock, says: "We have worked closely with the farming community and the National Farmers Union on this new planning guidance, with the collective goal of making the planning process an easier and smoother one to navigate for our farming community. We hope that it will be a welcome new tool for farming businesses, whether they are looking to adapt, expand or diversify, helping them to respond to market challenges and opportunities.”