Policy HOU10 Dwelling on a Farm Business
Planning permission will be granted for a dwelling on land included on a farm business where the applicant can demonstrate all of the following:
the farm business is currently active and has been active and established for the last six years;
no dwellings or development opportunities out-with settlement limits have been sold-off from the farm business within 10 years from the date of the application; and
the new building is visually linked or sited to cluster with an established group of buildings on the farm and where practicable, access to the dwelling should be obtained from an existing lane. Exceptionally, consideration may be given to an alternative site elsewhere on the farm, provided there are no other sites available at another group of buildings on the farm or out-farm, and where there are either:
demonstrable health and safety reasons for not clustering with existing farm buildings; or
verifiable plans to expand the farm business at the existing building group(s).
Planning permission granted under this policy will only be forthcoming once every 10 years.
Planning permission will not be granted for a dwelling under this policy where a farm business is artificially divided solely for the purpose of obtaining planning permission.
A proposal for a dwelling by those involved in the keeping and breeding of horses for commercial purposes will also be assessed under the criteria set out in this policy.
All proposals will also be required to meet the General Policy and accord with other provisions of the LDP.
Justification and Amplification
It is considered that there is a continuing need for new dwellings on farms to accommodate those engaged in farm business. A dwelling under this policy will not be acceptable unless the existing farm business is both active and established.
For the purposes of this policy, a farm business is one that demonstrates that it enjoys the decision-making power, benefits and financial risks in relation to the agricultural activity32 on the land. One of the clearest ways of demonstrating that a farm business is currently active is firstly by providing an active DAERA Category 1 Business ID Number, and secondly by demonstrating receipt of Single Farm Payment or payment from the Basic Payment Scheme administered by DAERA. Where applicants do not have a Category 1 Business ID Number and have not received payment through DAERA, then the applicant must provide evidence of an active farm business. Examples of evidence that may be required include:
Accounts for the farming business prepared by a qualified accountant.
Receipts relating to outputs and inputs.
Bank statements showing income/expenditure relating to receipts.
Evidence demonstrating that they are personally and substantially involved in the agricultural activity as opposed to simply renting land in conacre and how this can be reconciled with other documentary evidence in relation to the farm business.
Additional evidence may also be required. Hobby farming is not considered to constitute a farm business and will not satisfy the requirements of this policy.
In all cases such evidence must cover a minimum of the last six years from the date of the application.
Planning permission will not be granted for a dwelling under this policy where a farm business has recently sold-off a development opportunity from the farm such as a replacement dwelling or other building capable of conversion. For the purposes of this policy, ‘sold-off’ will mean any development opportunity disposed of from the farm business to any other person including a member of the family.
To help minimise impact on the character and appearance of the landscape a dwelling should be positioned sensitively with an established group of buildings on the farm, either to form an integral part of that particular building group, or when viewed from surrounding vantage points, to reads as being visually interlinked with those buildings, with little perception of any physical separation that may exist between them. The need for visual linkage may be set aside if there is existing mature vegetation that effectively screens an adjacent site from public view. Those farm businesses which do not have an established group of buildings will not satisfy this policy and it will not be acceptable to position a new dwelling so as to group with buildings on a neighbouring farm business.
Where an alternative site is proposed under criterion c) for health and safety reasons, the applicant will be required to submit robust evidence from a competent and independent authority such as the Health and Safety Executive or Council’s Environmental Health Department to justify the case. Evidence relating to plans for the future expansion of the farm business may include extant planning permissions, building control approvals or contractual obligations to supply farm produce.
A proposal for a dwelling associated with an equine business is to be afforded the same policy considerations as an established and active farm business. Such businesses will include horse breeding and training and the operating or livery yards, trekking centres and riding schools. Applicants will have to provide sufficient information to demonstrate a level of involvement commensurate with commercial activity over the requisite period of six years prior to the submission of the application. Such information should include:
A statement of commercial rateable history for the business.
Copies of appropriate Insurances.
Copies of ‘Horse Passports’ (if applicable).
Any other information considered relevant to the particular case.
Those keeping horses and/or ponies for hobby purposes will not satisfy the requirements of this policy.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) will confirm the Business ID number and will be further consulted as necessary in regard to the information supplied in support of applications.