Reasonably necessary

Planners working in the countryside will be very familiar with the phrase ‘reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture’ from the GPDO. It isn’t always straightforward, though, to judge what is and what isn’t ‘reasonably necessary’. An appeal case has come up involving an animal feeding area which the inspector found could be considered to be ‘reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture’ (DCS Number 200-007-212). As it involved a type which we have never come across, we thought it might be helpful to report it.

The land had been excavated to reveal a hard surface, and the arisings used to form a bunded enclosure. The council reasoned that the farm was in close proximity to the animal feeding area, where there were ample buildings and fields to accommodate sheep, and that the appellant had run a successful sheep farming business for some 15 years without a need for the development. The inspector acknowledged the previous arrangements for feeding sheep, but reasoned that they did not preclude improvements that might result in more efficient solutions or those which were better for animal welfare reasons. In her view, the requirement for works to be ‘reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture’ does not mean that only minimum standards can be considered to fall within permitted development rights.

Having found that the development was reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture the inspector noted, however, that Clause A.1 sets out development that is not permitted by Class A of Schedule 2, Part 6 of the GPDO. A.1(d)(i) was of relevance, she found, as it states that development is not permitted where the ground area which would be covered by any works or structure for accommodating livestock or any plant or machinery arising from engineering operations would exceed 465 square metres. Having considered the judgment in Taylor and Sons (Farms) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport & Regions, [2001], she ruled that ‘accommodating’ has a broader meaning than merely providing habitation. She agreed with the council that it would encompass the feeding area. Since the works exceeded the 465 metre limitation the development could not constitute permitted development, she concluded.

Section 4.3425 of DCP Online concerns Part 6 of the GPDO.

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