5 April 2002

Extra income to be given the boot

FARMERS could lose out on a valuable source of extra income under new government proposals, warns one Midlands-based weekend market organiser.

Many farmers benefit from renting out land for weekend markets or car boot sales which, under current regulations, do not require planning permission as long as no more than 14 are hosted per year.

But the organiser, who did not want to be named for fear of a backlash from planning authorities, reckons this exemption could be under threat and all future events will require permission, something he fears planners are unlikely to grant. "They will just use the green belt argument to deny consent."

Other activities that could also be affected include clay pigeon shoots and motor cycle races.

However, a spokeswoman from the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions said the option was only one of a number outlined in a consultation document, released by planning minister Lord Falconer at the end of January, and that no decision had yet been made.

"We want to ensure we strike the right balance between the needs of the community and business – there are no preferred options and it may turn out that no change is needed."

The consultation period for the proposals runs out onApr 24 and full details of howto respond are available on-line (www.planning.dtlr.gov.uk). &#42