Honey barn prior approval claim rejected

Permitted development rights do not apply to a proposed honey barn at a farm in Essex, an inspector has decided.

Prior approval was sought under class A, part 6, schedule 2 of the GPDO for a building comprising a workshop, stores, labelling and jarring areas, warming rooms and welfare facilities. It would serve as a base for other farms in the area where hives were located, enabling the appellant to centralise operations. Queen bee eggs would be converted to embryos in the building and then placed back in the hives, where they would hatch as live queen bees.

The two issues in dispute were whether the use was agricultural and, if so, what the agricultural unit comprised. The inspector determined that the building would be used for breeding of creatures for the production of food, as per the definition of agriculture in the 1990 Act. However, she did not conclude that the use proposed was an agricultural use because the breeding element formed only a small part of the overall operation, which she felt was more akin to a manufacturing process.

She noted that embryos created in the building would be used in hives outside the agricultural unit and, similarly, that most of the honey processed and stored in it would be extracted from hives outside the unit. Even if she had identified an agricultural use, she concluded, the building was not necessary for the purposes of agriculture within the farm unit. She refused prior approval on the basis that the proposal was not permitted development under class A because it could not be considered reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture.

Inspector: Martha Savage; Written representations

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