NFU favours easier planning rules

The size of agricultural buildings which can be erected under Permitted Development Rights (PDR) is set to more than double under new planning regulations which will come into force on April 1.

PDR relate to minor, uncontroversial developments, or changes associated with existing developments, and reduce the burden on both applicants and planning authorities by helping remove the need to apply for planning permission.

The updates will include changes to the size limit on agricultural sheds available under PDR (from 465sqm to 1,000sqm), and to the definition of significant extension/alteration which is being increased to 20% of the cubic content of a building.

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The conversion of agricultural and forestry buildings constructed before 4/11/2019 to residential and commercial use: up to 5 dwellings (houses or flats) and 500sqm flexible commercial space, respectively will also be allowed.

Peatland restoration projects will also be permitted to proceed without applying for planning permission, and PDR for connectivity infrastructure has also been introduced to help address connectivity issues.

Welcoming the moves NFU Scotland reminded producers that the requirement to apply for Prior Approval at an early stage for any PDR projects still applied.

“The increase in shed floor area under permitted development to 1000sqm is a really big win for NFUS, and will help farmers wishing to build farm infrastructure that is reflective of the needs of modern industry,” said the union’s head of policy, Gemma Cooper.

She added that the potential to convert some existing structures to residential or commercial use offered diversification opportunities and would help bring redundant buildings back into use.

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