04 March 1998
Bogus planning applications threaten green belt
ONLY about 40% of agricultural planning applications are genuine, according to a leading land agent.
Michael Fletcher, land agent with Lane Fox and an agricultural consultant for local authorities in South Wales and the Thames Valley, believes landowners are taking advantage of a weakness in planning policy which allows people to claim “agricultural need” when applying for planning permission.
He gave the example of a landowner who submitted an application for the use of her land. She said she wanted to farm free-range chickens and wanted to make her temporary agricultural dwelling permanent.
She was granted permission and proceeded to build a house after installing second-hand chicken sheds. The chickens never appeared.
The flaw is seen as a threat to the green belt. Fletcher says local
authorities need to be vigilant.
“Ive seen some proposals for mushroom farms and carp farms in some pretty unlikely locations,” he said.
- The Times 04/03/98 page 32