21 November 2001
Farmers let down by planners
By Tom Allen-Stevens
SOME local planning authorities are still not giving farm diversification projects the attention they deserve, some government research has found.
The fact-finding survey has recently been published by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions.
“Significantly, 40% of post-1997 local plans still do not contain specific policies on farm diversification,” says the report.
Only 50% of structure plans and 54% of local plans addressed farm diversification, despite having strong central government policy support.
It is a cornerstone of the England Rural Development Programme, the Governments strategy for agriculture and the Rural White Paper, says the report.
It also features as one of the amended objectives of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, published last week.
Approval rate for farm diversification applications is 5-7% below the national average approval rate for applications.
This is despite 90-95% of applicants receiving specialist advice before making the application.
Tourism is the most common farm diversification requiring planning, followed by equestrian activities, storage/haulage, offices and manufacturing.
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