Carter Jonas
Carter Jonas

Development potential on farms and estates has rarely been so good

The National Planning Policy Framework published in 2012 gave us the principle of a presumption in favour of Sustainable Development and the five year plus 20% housing supply rule.

Since then we have seen those issues coming to the fore along with Permitted Development Rights to change the use of farm buildings to commercial or residential use. Some district councils are also considering modifications to green belt boundaries!

Development land values were the earliest to fall in the 2007/08 crash, but they have now recovered to around pre-crash levels, although the landscape has changed with much more attention being given to deliverability and the cost of any planning gain payments associated with a specific planning permission.

Of course there are stings in the tail if you are successful under the new PD rights regime, such as the removal of your previous agricultural permitted development rights for a period of 10 years as well as the further case law on agricultural occupancy restrictions, but overall it makes sense now more than ever before to consider the development potential of your land and buildings.

For clients within Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) with a five year housing supply issue we are reappraising land’s potential and identifying sites that would not, under Local Plan policies, have come forward for development at this stage. It may be a short-lived opportunity, given that the LPA can close the loophole by allocating more land or approving one large application which may plug the gap.

In terms of Permitted Development Rights (PDRs), we have not seen as many applications as predicted. This is surprising as one would have thought that confirming a development would be advantageous even if it was later altered to a more intensive use via a planning permission.

In terms of value creation, when one comes to sell a barn with PDR approval our view is that the value is very much the same as the same development via a Planning Permission. However, as there is less knowledge and experience of PDRs in the various professions involved in a sale the process can take considerably longer. Some clients have therefore followed up a PDR approval with a planning permission avoid complications in the sale process.

Mark Russell


Mark is a rural partner responsible for agency and professional work in East Anglia. Since qualifying in 1998 Mark has undertaken asset management of institutional rural property, advised landowners,...

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