England’s planning policy on homes for retiring farmers must catch up with the rest of the United Kingdom before Brexit changes take effect, says the CLA.
While the planning frameworks of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland recognise that being able to build a new rural home can be crucial in helping a farmer to retire and in bringing young people into farming, England’s National Planning Policy Framework still does not.
The process of farm succession is notoriously difficult, and restrictions on building in the countryside create an additional barrier for farming families wanting to make space for the next generation to take over the farm business.
The CLA represents 30,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses in England and Wales. It has set out the case for change in its Homes for Retiring Farmers paper published today.
CLA Deputy President Mark Bridgeman said: “Agriculture has an ageing workforce, and handing over the farm to the next generation or to a young person entering into the industry can be financially and emotionally difficult.
“England is the only country in the United Kingdom that does not recognise in its planning system that a home on the farm for the retiring farmer to move into can really ease this process while also allowing the retired farmer to continue to provide advice and support.
“We can expect that the changes Brexit will bring to the agricultural sector may be the catalyst for many farmers to retire. Now is the right time to change the National Planning Policy Framework to encourage local authorities to grant permission for this type and purpose of rural development.”
The Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government is currently undertaking a review of the National Planning Policy Framework for England.