DC Casebook: Agricultural development - Farmhouse agreed despite policy clash

Permission has been granted for a new farmhouse at a 145ha holding in Norfolk after an inspector placed weight on the need to reduce vandalism and theft at the site.

The holding had been created through subdivision of a larger farm, leaving it without a farmhouse. The appellants stated that a dwelling was required to support the arable unit. They maintained that theft, damage and general vandalism jeopardised the farm's prospects because there was no on-site supervision of outbuildings containing expensive equipment.

The inspector referred to national advice in PPS7 on sustainable development in rural areas, which states that crime prevention and community safety cannot by themselves demonstrate a functional need for a dwelling in the countryside. However, given the nature of the enterprise and the disruption caused by past theft and damage, he agreed that considerable weight should be given to the opportunities to reduce crime and increase the security of the holding.

While finding that the functional test was not met in full, he concluded that the undoubted benefit that the dwelling would deliver to the future viability of the holding, the reduction in crime and the scheme's role in supporting the rural economy all weighed in favour of granting permission.

DCS Number 100-064-292

Inspector John Colburn; Hearing


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