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Is now the right time to diversify?

Our local landowners and farmers have always been eager to look for opportunities to diversify, and in the current economic climate, now might be the right time to look again at other ways to use their land or property.

Written by Sam Snart

As well as developing your business plan and securing the necessary finance, many face the challenge of avoiding lengthy and costly planning applications, especially with many farms being in the AoNB or close to SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest).

The team at HPPC has advised many landowners on various diversification schemes, ranging from commercial
 to residential to recreational uses, successfully securing planning approval and helping to avoid damaging relations locally.

What does the National Planning Policy Framework say on the issue?

The Planning System is expected to provide for a prosperous rural economy.
Policies should support economic growth in rural areas in order to create jobs and prosperity by taking a positive approach to sustainable new development.

To promote a strong rural economy, local and neighbourhood plans should:

• support the sustainable growth and expansion of all types of business and enterprise in rural areas, both through conversion of existing buildings and well designed new buildings;

• promote the development and diversification of agricultural and other land-based rural businesses;

• support sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments that benefit businesses in rural areas, communities and visitors, and which respect the character of the countryside.

This should include supporting the provision and expansion of tourist and visitor facilities in appropriate locations where identified needs are not met
by existing facilities in rural service centres;

• promote the retention and development of local services and community facilities in villages, such
as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship.


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