Ploughing match sparks questions over planning

Published October 13th, 2015

While competitors were busy ploughing their furrows at Cheshire Ploughing Match at Frodsham visitors to Berrys stand at the event had furrowed brows about something else – planning.

More than three quarters of the farmers and property owners that visited property firm Berrys’ stand wanted to talk about planning issues.

“It was unbelievable,” said Graham Bowcock, partner in charge of Berrys’ Northwich office. “Time and time again people were asking us about a farm building or a plot they had in mind for potential development,” he said.

Amy Henson, Berrys’ planning consultant on the stand, said while the majority of the queries related to the conversion of farm buildings to residential use, some farmers wanted to talk about putting up new agricultural buildings and others about lifting holiday let restrictions from properties and commercial uses within redundant farm buildings.

In a bid to create more housing, the Government recently relaxed planning legislation which allows agricultural buildings to be converted to residential use. This has made it easier to convert redundant farm barns into dwellings, however, the interpretation of the legislation by council’s across the county varies considerably – from being very relaxed to very restrictive.

Cheshire Ploughing Match

Berrys stand at Cheshire Ploughing Match

“Recent planning appeal decisions in Cheshire have made it clear that approval is subject to the building being structurally sound in the first place, usually having a concrete floor, and brick or blockwork walls for example” Amy said.

Farmers are keen to make the most of their assets and Graham Bowcock said they were also able to advise on  the conversion of redundant farm buildings into commercial use such as storage and distribution units or offices to let for small to medium sizes local businesses.

If you have a planning or property query contact the Northwich office of Berrys on 01606 49200 or email