Part 6 of the GPDO deals with agriculture and forestry, Class A concerning agricultural development on units of 5 hectares or more which are reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture within the unit. A council in Devon was ruled to be mistaken, however, in declining to determine a prior approval notification for a barn on the grounds that it would not be located in an agricultural unit as defined within the GPDO and that the development was not considered to be in keeping with the provisions of the GPDO (DCS Number 400-010-510). Such a decision was not an option for the council under the GPDO, an inspector ruled. The council believed that the primary use of the land was equestrian. What it should have done, the inspector explained, was to determine the application before it rather than refusing to determine it. It could then have advised the appellant that it did not believe the GPDO permission could be relied upon and that the council might need to consider the expediency of taking enforcement action if the building were to be erected. Not only that, costs were awarded against the council because it had failed to deal properly with the application in accordance with established legal principles by making a purported decision which is outside the powers available to it under the GPDO.
Whilst the inspector is no doubt right about this it does seem that it would be a case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
The following DCP chapter is relevant: 22.1112