Opportunities and challenges for Welsh rural businesses were detailed in a popular and dynamic event led by CLA Cymru, in Dyfed last week. “Our Farming, Rural Affairs and Networking Event examined farming support and regulation, housing and letting, and the planning process’ role in facilitating diversification,” says CLA Director, Nigel Hollett.
“Rural businesses are managing change now, and need to prepare for long-term developments which must influence business planning. Every business needs entrepreneurial vision and preparedness to tackle the vagaries of changing markets and the impact of new legislation.”
“The Welsh Government has outlined a raft of grants and schemes as farmers and land managers look towards the new Sustainable Farming Scheme. Formal expressions of interest need to be made in a limited time. Any project, which requires planning consent, needs to be progressed quickly and efficiently. Such projects may include investments which ensure farms conform to the new Wales-wide pollution regulations.”
Nigel adds, “Many farms have diversified into residential letting. Those who let homes need to be aware of changes in the law affecting serving-of-notice, letting contracts and property modifications. It’s vital to fully understand and implement these changes: landlords may become liable for financial penalties for non-compliance.”
In the recent past, we’ve seen a terrific surge in successful diversifications: in food processing and new ways to retail, tourism, event-management and new outdoor activities. The rural environment is a world of opportunity
“Other landowners are diversifying into tourism – often tapping into the emerging market for glamping, yurts, pods or shepherd’s huts. Here it’s important to be knowledgeable and efficient in handling the planning consent process within the Local Development Plan. Too many projects fall foul of issues in national parks or other designated land, restrictions associated with listed buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments, highways, approach roads and visibility splay, tree preservation orders, conservation matters – such as bats, and matters concerning floodplains – to name just a few.”
“Entrepreneurial land owners are understandably driven by opportunity and uncertainty in existing businesses. They should exploit great locations and gaps in markets – applying local or technical expertise and personal interests. In the recent past, we’ve seen a terrific surge in successful diversifications: in food processing and new ways to retail, tourism, event-management and new outdoor activities. The rural environment is a world of opportunity.”