Monday, January 8, 2018

Housing for the new farmers

When a permission is granted for an agricultural worker's dwelling in the countryside it can seem so simple
The farmer can explain that a modest income (if local plan policies require this test) would be sufficient and that livestock do essentially need close attention.  It seems that this is not the first time that the birthing habits of alpacas have been relied on but I think that 10acres of well chosen land (ie not AONB or National Park) and signs of real dedication/investment, were more persuasive than the couple of alpacas.
If the Government and planning authorities want to rely on the test of essential need in the NPPF (the Framework) then more of these new dwellings are likely to be allowed.  However, in my humble opinion, it would be better to see new farms being established on the edge of towns and villages where farmers and their families can rely on the normal facilities while being housed on the holding. Local food systems can be regenerated. However,  this would require the planning system to recognise the food supply  as a legitimate concern, and become proactive in securing affordable land and affordable housing from most if not all new peripheral developments  through s106 planning obligations.  The planning system should be persuaded of the need for positive action and not having to learn from their failed attempts to prevent determined new farmers chancing upon sympathetic inspectors.  That is not an intelligent way to move systematically to an agroecological renaissance. 'Planning' by definition is to address issues in a proper way and, where there is a public interest (ie see the ORFC agenda), become main facilitators, not failed gatekeepers.

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