Expert advice on securing planning permission

Getting planning permission for any development can be time consuming, fraught and expensive.

However, there is much that an applicant can do to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

Good research and preparation are vital for success.

Visiting similar developments and hearing the experiences of others who have been through planning can be part of this, helping not only with ideas and strategy but also to avoid mistakes by understanding the process.

See also: More articles on planning permission

Here Barry Davies & David Glasson of the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants Rural Planning Sector lay out their advice for would-be applicants.


Be sure to consult at a very early stage with the following:

  • County highways authority They will consider the proposed project to the roads around the farm to decide whether it will cause safety problems. The most common problem is visibility from the farm entrance on to the main road.
  • Local planning authority to ascertain whether the proposed development fits with its development plan policies.
  • Parish Council Listen to councillors’ views about your project before they receive the statutory consultee letter from the local planning authority.
  • Local ward councillor Get him/her onside, invite them to the farm to discuss the project.


Provide a detailed planning/design and access statement to the council to avoid requests for further information. Good quality location and site plans are essential.

Once the application is submitted, monitor closely to ensure you receive a council’s validation letter.

Once validated you should consult again with the local parish council, the local ward councillor, and definitely the county highways engineer to ensure their statutory consultation is positive.

Keeping in touch with these parties can help ensure the application is considered under delegated powers as opposed to reporting to a planning committee.

Dealing with the planning officer

If the planning officer is proposing to grant permission, always request by email a list of the proposed planning conditions to consider whether these are reasonable and necessary to the development. If not, negotiate.

If the application is reported to the planning committee, do attend and give a three-minute presentation. Practice reading your script, stick to your allotted time.

Use an expert – see the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants’ (BIAC) website for a list of members with experience in rural planning.

BIAC’s National Rural Planning Conference is on 6 October at the Williams Conference Centre, Wantage, Oxfordshire.

For more information telephone 01275 375 559, email or visit

Upcoming Webinar


How to best plan your farming retirement and pension

With BPS being phased out and new schemes being put in place in the next few years, it’s an important time for farmers to start planning retirement and the best way to secure their pensions. Whether you are considering a succession process or would like to retire from the industry outright, our panel of experts will go through all the options you need to consider no matter what your life plan looks like. Join the session at 17.00 - 18:15 on Thursday 19 August 2021.