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Jeremy Clarkson, Diddly Squat Farm, and the cunning little loophole...

Do you need planning permission to convert a farm building on your farm for diversification opportunities?

Following on from what has been described as “a cunning little loophole”, here Angus Hutchinson, Planning Consultant for H&H Land & Estates , discusses a way that farmers can successfully convert buildings on their land.   

“Members of Amazon Prime Video will be aware of the popularity last year of the “Clarkson’s Farm” documentary series which highlighted the problems experienced by the television presenter and journalist in running a farm and the minimal financial return generated by all his efforts. The first series including an element of diversification in the form of the opening of a farm shop.

Ahead of the release of season 2 of “Clarkson’s Farm” articles have recently appeared in the press of further diversification in the form of a restaurant. This is in the context that earlier in the year the relevant local authority, West Oxfordshire District Council, had refused planning permission for a café/restaurant. In an article in The Times (09.07.22) it explains that Mr Clarkson had used his knowledge of the planning system and “found a cunning little loophole”. What is this loophole you may ask?

In brief, Class R ( Schedule 2, Part 3) of the General Permitted Development Order 2015 (as amended) allows for the change of use from an agricultural building (and land within its curtilage) in England to a commercial use i.e., uses involving storage or distribution, hotels, shops, financial and professional services, restaurants and cafes, and assembly and leisure.

So, if you are thinking about converting a farm building to storage, a hotel, an office, gym, or café Class R might be an ideal permitted development option for you.

However, you also need to be aware that when going down this route there is a need to inform the Council, and when doing so, there are criteria that must be complied with which your agent will be able to provide relevant advice.”

We the leading chartered surveyors, estate agents and valuers in the north of England and south of Scotland. Through our expertise and understanding of the industry we are able to provide a range of services and tailored advice for our customers including any agricultural, environmental, development or residential questions and concerns you may have. If you require any specialist advice on planning regulations, developments or diversification plans then please do not hesitate to contact us. 

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