Free plan advice to tune of £800

12 October 2001

Free plan advice to tune of £800

ENGLISH farmers hoping to diversify have been given a leg up the planning ladder by a DEFRA scheme that will pay for one days worth of free advice.

The offer, worth £800, is open to producers who are planning to apply for grants under the Rural Enterprise Scheme. The rules of the scheme specify that planning permission must be received before DEFRA can consider applications.

This has put off many farmers because of the complications and costs that are often involved with planning procedures, says William Tongue of Northants-based rural consultant Samuel Rose.

Farmers will still have to fund the planning process, which can be expensive, but Mr Tongue believes the initial free advice will make the whole process much simpler. "It should remove some of the pitfalls and help identify any issues involved."

In the first instance, producers should contact DEFRA to ensure their diversification plans are eligiblefor consideration.

Once the go ahead is given, applicants can choose from a list of nominated groups, including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors rural faculty, to receive their advice. DEFRA will refund costs direct to the farmer. &#42

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