Agricultural permitted development rightsIn the Court of Appeal after a two year battle with the planning system a Norfolk farmer has been awarded a landmark ruling that will make it easier for farmers to erect new buildings.  Mr & Mrs Murrell with the support of the NFU’s Legal Assistance Scheme challenged a planning inspectors decision to refuse their appeal for permission to erect a cattle building on agricultural land at South Walsham near Norwich.

Mr and Mrs Murrell first submitted an application under General Permitted Development Rights for prior approval to erect a 450 square metre cattle building in December 2008 to Broadlands District Council.  General permitted development rights specify certain conditions where development is acceptable and gives the local planning authority opportunity to approve the siting, materials and external appearance.  The Council failed to request the information for approval of these factors within the 28 day time limit required under GPDO and later responded by stating they were refusing approval.

The Murrells appealed the planning officers decision and the Inspector Ms Janet Cheesley refused the appeal.  The Murrells then took the decision to the court of appeal where Lord Justice Richards upheld the Murrells appeal.  In reaching his decision he stated that the inspector had failed to acknowledge that the principle of the development was not an issue.

Ben Wharfe from Wharfe Rural Planning Consultancy commented “this is a very significant case for farmers, it clarifies the rules regarding permitted development rights, it will make it simpler to build agricultural buildings below 465 sq metres and it reaffirms the value that a thriving agricultural economy contributes to the countryside.  Mr Murrell and the NFU Legal assistance scheme should be applauded for their determination and tenacity in challenging the erosion of permitted development rights.”