13 September 2001
Free planning help for English

By FWi staff

FARMERS in England are to be offered free planning advice as part of a new scheme to help people who want to diversify their businesses.

Producers will be entitled to a day of a planning consultants time and up to 800 for a planning feasibility study to help apply for a grant under the Rural Enterprise Scheme.

The scheme, which fulfils a commitment made in the Action Plan for Farming in March 2000, was announced by the government on Wednesday (12 September).

Michael Meacher, rural affairs minister, said the government was determined to give help and support to help farmers diversify.

“They may well want to move from traditional crop or livestock production into different forms of farming or activities completely outside farming,” he said.

“This advice will help farmers with that important first step along the road to understanding and satisfying the requirements of the planning system.”

The standard package is expected to fund a site visit, feasibility study, advice on local planning consents, site plans and sketches.

Consultants will be members of a recognised body and will also need to prove they have at least five years experience in town and country planning in the rural context.

Farmers wanting to take up this offer should contact their local Defra office who will send them a leaflet.

  • Details of the scheme are also available on the departments website at www.defra.co.uk