How to secure planning permission for farm worker’s dwelling

Published December 4th, 2018

Getting planning permission for a farm worker’s dwelling can sometimes be difficult but Berrys has a good track record of successful applications.

Chartered surveyor Vicky Price at the Hereford Office of Berrys says they have been increasingly involved and have an excellent success rate in submitting planning applications for farm workers and rural enterprise dwellings.

She said the amended National Planning Policy Framework only allows development for rural workers in the countryside where it is essential for them to live at or near their place of work.

“This is very vague and so the majority of inspectors revert back to the guidelines set out by Annex A of the old Planning Policy,” Vicky said.

Local planning authorities decide on a case-by-case basis whether there is an essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near a place of work. Whilst planning policy is different for each council, the main points to consider when thinking of applying for a workers dwelling, include:

Clear evidence of intention that the business has been planned on a sound financial basis:

  • Proof that the business has been established for at least three years and, if necessary, there are clear business plans in place for any proposed expansion. Planning permission can be achieved for dwellings relating to a business that has been established for less than three years, but the dwelling usually has to be temporary (static caravan/cabin) and budgets need to be provided rather than accounts.
  •  Current accounts and potential financial budgets will be necessary to support the financial justification and show the viability of the business over a long-term period.
  •  It is important that investment in buildings, infrastructure and livestock is incorporated into the financial information, along with wages.

The functional need for a dwelling to be situated at the farmstead/place of work needs to relate to a full-time worker:

  • Requires consideration of all unexpected situations that could arise from activities, along with the standard requirements for the management and operation of the enterprises.
  •  Examples of this relate to animal welfare, especially when lambing and calving. Justification is required to show there is sufficient work to equate to the full-time employee, who would be residing in the dwelling.
  •  It is important that clear justification is provided to show if the worker cannot reside on-site to meet these requirements then the viability and existence of the business would potentially be threatened.

Whether other accommodation can fulfil the functional need:

  • A comprehensive search of the residential market to check no other properties are available to rent or purchase within the immediate surrounding area is required. Consideration also needs to be given to any buildings that could be converted on the site.
  • It should also be established that the functional need cannot be fulfilled without the dwelling being on the holding.

“It is important that a clear business case is put forward as part of the planning application from the outset,” Vicky said.

“As such, the business consultancy team in conjunction with the planning team at Berrys has a wide range of experience in dealing with these applications. Examples of recent applications include second dwellings for livestock farms, poultry manager’s dwellings, and permanent and temporary dwellings for equine enterprises.”

If you would like any more information on workers dwellings or would like to discuss any proposals you may have, please contact Vicky Price on 01432 809834 email

For more information...

Visit our relevant website page: Agricultural & Poultry

More about Vicky Price

Chartered Surveyor
Tel: 01432 809834
Mobile: 07789 986904

Vicky joined Berrys’ Hereford office when she returned home after  practising in the Eastern Region for four years, during which time she qualified as an Associate of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.

Vicky assists in all matters of rural agency and professional advice including estate management, valuations, landlord and tenant matters, letting and selling of land and rural property, Single Payment Scheme, environmental schemes and agricultural planning appraisals.

A local girl, Vicky is a farmer’s daughter from near Knighton. She has been a member of Clun Valley Young Farmers Club for many years and has a keen interest in the countryside and rural affairs as well as helping out on the family farm.