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The Prior Notification process

Prior approval is required for some change of use permitted development rights. When prior approval is required the developer needs to make an application to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval of the Authority is required.   

As part of the application and decision making process for prior approvals we will let applicants know if a prior approval is not required, grant prior approval or refuse the proposal. No work should begin before an application is made and that the Council has provided written notice of their determination.

Read more on change of use and Prior Notification applications

Certain other types of permitted development including the erection of new agricultural buildings, demolition and the installation of telecommunications equipment also require prior approval.

Agricultural development

A Prior Notification application form should be submitted for the following types of development:

  • relating to agricultural units of 5 hectares of more:

(i) Building, significant extension or significant alteration to a building
(ii) Formation or alteration of a private way
(iii) Carrying out of certain excavations and waste disposal
(iv) Placing or assembly of a tank or cage for use in fish farming in any waters

  • on forestry land to (i) and (ii) above
  • proposed road
  • proposed excavated / deposit of waste
  • building a fish tank

Anyone proposing to carry out such development must apply in advance for a determination as to whether the authority's prior approval of certain details is required.

Examples of when planning permission will be required include:

  • development not reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture / forestry on the holding (the keeping or rearing of horses, unless for working the land, is not agriculture)
  • development on land which is not currently used in connection with an agricultural business, for example hobby farming.
  • development not designed for the purposes of agriculture, for example railway carriages or lorry containers
  • development on an agricultural holding of less than 0.4 hectares
  • development within 25 metres of the hardened part of a trunk or classified road
  • development of separate parcels of land of less than: 1 hectare on units of 5 or more hectares or more; or 0.4 hectares on units of less than 5 hectares
  • agricultural buildings of more than 465 square metres floor area (calculated to include all other development within 90 metres of the site which has been carried out within the preceding 2 years)
  • buildings or excavations for livestock or slurry storage within 400 metres of a protected building (most non-agricultural buildings)
  • agricultural development more than 12 metres in height
  • excavations or engineering operations connected with fish farming.

Farm diversification schemes

Whilst farming makes an important contribution to the local economy, increasingly farms are diversifying into non-agricultural activities for the business to remain viable. This can include farm shops, cafes, farm-based food processing and packaging, craft workshops, sporting facilities, fishing lakes, horse-riding or holiday accommodation.

A Farm Business Plan will need to be included in the planning application to show how your proposals support a working farm. This should include details of existing farm activities, the need for diversification, details of the proposal and implications on the rural economy and the environment.