Government urged to support new homes for farmers ahead of Brexit

Published March 6th, 2018

Landowners in England have launched a major campaign to help boost housing in the rural areas to enable farmers to retire and encourage younger people to enter the industry.

The CLA, which represents 30,000 farmers and rural businesses in England and Wales, says England’s planning policy on homes for retiring farmers must catch up with the rest of the United Kingdom before Brexit changes take effect.

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 has set out the case for change in its Homes for Retiring Farmers paper published earlier this month which says that Brexit may be the catalyst for many farmers to retire and that the National Planning Policy Framework needs to be changed  to encourage local authorities to grant permission for rural development to allow farm succession.

Planning consultants at leading property, business and planning firm Berrys are getting behind the campaign: “The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is currently undertaking a review of the National Planning Policy Framework for England and should incorporate the needs of retiring farmers in the revised NPPF by allowing a relaxation of planning policy for such purposes,” said Val Coleby, a planning consultant at the Kettering Office of Berrys.

The new NPPF is anticipated for publication in the Spring.

Policy in Wales enables “a second dwelling on an established farm, which is financially sustainable, to facilitate the progressive handover of the management of the farm business to a new farmer within 5 years of planning consent for the rural enterprise dwelling being granted.”

The CLA is suggesting similar wording could be used in England’s NPPF and recommends the following paragraph is added “where a farmer is retiring from farming or dies, an application for planning permission for a new dwelling may be afforded favourable consideration in order to facilitate the orderly transfer of the farm and to enable the farmer, or the surviving partner of the farmer, to continue to live on that land”.

“This would ease some of the problems farming families face when contemplating succession and would enable a farm to move on to the younger generation while support from parents is nearby,” Val added.

For advice on planning issues contact your local office of Berrys or speak to Val Coleby at the Kettering office of Berrys on 01536 532388 email or for more details on the CLA report contact CLA housing adviser at

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More about Val Coleby

BSc(Hons) Dip TP Dip LM MRTPI
Planning Consultant
Tel: 01536 532388
Mobile: 07714 311490

Val has over 25 years’ planning experience in both the public and private sectors giving her a well-rounded professional career. She qualified as a Chartered Town Planner in 1987 and has qualifications in both planning and management.

Val has extensive knowledge of the planning system including development control, heritage and conservation and planning policy development. She has prepared and coordinated numerous planning applications both large and small managing multi-disciplinary teams. Val has acted for a number of local authorities and private clients as an expert planning witness in planning appeals. She also has a good understanding and working knowledge of the Community Infrastructure Levy and its progress of implementation across the country, rural planning issues and farm diversification opportunities. Having been closely involved in the development of planning policy in the public sector gives her an insight into unravelling policy for her private client interests.