The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Smallholding => Buildings & planning => Topic started by: Springbeans on December 28, 2019, 07:36:40 am

Title: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Springbeans on December 28, 2019, 07:36:40 am
Hi I'm new to all this, I introduced myself when I joined but been awol for a while.

I'm considering buying some land so I can move out of the city and have something of my own. I've read online that land size for a smallholding is between one and 50 acres?

My question is what if its smaller than that? Is a smallholding strictly categorised as such if its minimum 1 acre and maximum 50 or is that a general figure? Is there an actual limit on the size of a smallholding and what is it? I'm specifically interested in what the minimum size would be..

Thanks in advance :wave:


Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Rosemary on December 28, 2019, 08:48:05 am
There's no legal definition of a small holding so no specified areas. For some purposes - planning, for example, a holding has to be more than 0.04ha / 1 acre for the agricultural regs to be applied.

Something to bear in mind is access to government support - it might not be an issue now but might be in the future -although none of us can see the future. Currently, to qualify for government support, you need to farm a minimum of 3ha of ELIGIBLE LAND in Scotland and 5ha in England. Eligible land doesn't include water courses, hard standing, buildings or woodland (I think) - basically cultivatable land.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Fleecewife on December 28, 2019, 01:05:04 pm
As Rosemary says, but also it seems to be more of a mentality than a legal definition.  If you think you have a smallholding, rather than just a large garden, then you probably have one. Usually even a small smallholding has a few animals such as laying hens, rabbits for meat, maybe a couple of pigs, plus of course vegetables, fruit, salads and herbs.  The difference between a large garden, an allotment, and an actual smallholding is a very wiggly line.
Looked at from another angle, a smallholding is the size you personally need to carry out the smallholdingy things you want to do.
Everyone on TAS has different acreages, for example we have 9 acres, on which we keep a smallish flock of breeding sheep, geese, laying hens, vegetables, fruit, salads, herbs, wood for fuel (also for shelter and wildlife and wild fruit and nuts).  We don't have room for cattle, we had pigs for a while, no goats  :'( , we don't have room to grow cereal crops but we do make our own hay for winter feed for the sheep.  For us, our smallholding is the ideal size and that's what you need to aim for.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: bj_cardiff on December 28, 2019, 01:52:23 pm
I think you need to be a registered smallholding depending on what animals you wish to keep.

A domestic house owner who would like a micro pig, would have to register their property as a smallholding, then register for a herd number for the pig.

A person running a 100 acre livery yard would not automatically need to be registered as a smallholding because he did not keep any livestock.

Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: doganjo on December 28, 2019, 03:41:46 pm
I think you need to be a registered smallholding depending on what animals you wish to keep.

A domestic house owner who would like a micro pig, would have to register their property as a smallholding, then register for a herd number for the pig.

A person running a 100 acre livery yard would not automatically need to be registered as a smallholding because he did not keep any livestock.



You need to apply for a CPH (a county parish holding number), You then have a smallholding.; and as bj says you need a herd number once you get any  4 legged animals.   They need individual tags. If you have 50 birds of any kind you need to register with Defra.  Other than that there are no set rules that I know of except as Rosemary says if you want to take advantage of any grants etc
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Womble on December 28, 2019, 05:20:56 pm

This is one of the problems with smallholding - there isn't an accepted definition of what is or is not a smallholding (whereas there is with say a croft).

a smallholding is the size you personally need to carry out the smallholdingy things you want to do.


.... and sometimes we have to compromise and not do some smallholdingy things we would like to do because we don't have enough land.


Springbeans - the first thing to do is to figure out what type of thing you want to do, and on what scale. That will then tell you how much land you need, and TBH that in itself will probably tell you where it will need to be!
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: doganjo on December 28, 2019, 09:44:51 pm
Personally I think, more than anything else, it depends on where you want to or have to live and what you can afford in that area - bearing in mind it is almost impossible to get loans/mortgages on land
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Springbeans on December 28, 2019, 09:58:49 pm
Thank you all for the advice :thumbsup:

Womble I won't be keeping animals, I'm vegetarian leaning towards veganism so I dont eat meat and couldn't contribute to it's production for personal reasons, every other use of land is considered. So far I've come up with growing herbs? I like herbs and they grow fast, but I'm open to other suggestions... I'm thinking of taking a short horticulture course to familiarise myself with the process once I've decided what it is I will use the land for.

Rosemary 5ha is over 12acres, I cant afford that much land at present, what type of goverment support would I be looking at? Is it mandatory like planning permission and such? Does the minimum 1acre include any buildings such as a caravan mobile home etc or is it only the land being cultivated?

Also if I grow herbs what's the minimum land I need to plant on? Will I need a business plan for permission to do this and would I get permission to live on site in a mobile home or is that only given if people keep animals?

I live in London and any land I buy will likely be in the surrounding areas, an hours drive at most from the city.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Fleecewife on December 28, 2019, 10:46:12 pm
So are you meaning that you want to set up a smallholding as a money making business?  That's rather different to a 'lifestyle' smallholding, where you want to live the life for its own sake.
I would think that on a business scale, an acre of herbs would be enough to supply restaurants and small shops, but research your market first.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Springbeans on December 29, 2019, 04:52:11 am
Fleecewife it's primarily as a lifestyle I think, I really just want to get out of the city, its far too expensive to buy a property here and the high rents are taking the majority of my wages and leaving me with nothing after bills etc, I can't see a way out unless I buy my own property somehow as I'm tired of giving all my wages to landlords here yr after yr.

I've also grown tired of the fast pace of life, the noise traffic over-population pollution crime everything, I'd love nothing more than to live in the countryside surrounded by nature space peace and quiet.

So I looked into buying a piece of land, however small, to start off the transition from city to countryside. I figured I could get somewhere on the outskirts of the city and put a mobile home on my land and start living there, even start growing my own food for personal use, and continue working in the city, it seemed a solid plan until I realised I couldn't live on the land without permission even if I owned it, and eventually found out registering it as a smallholding would be the best way to go about that if I've not the money to build a house on it straight away and could only start off with a little piece of land and a mobile home.

I then found out to register as a smallholding I have to use the land in some way to produce an income, hence looking at growing herbs or anything else, I'm open to suggestions, I'd like to keep working in the city at least part time however, I've debts to pay off so can't stop doing that until I'm in the clear as it's a more sure income than if I'm starting a smallholding that hasn't yet gotten off the ground.

I'm new to all this but very serious about it, I do love the countryside and would be happy growing herbs if it gets me living on my own land, just don't know too much of the red tape right now however.

Does anyone know how much land would I have to cultivate and how much income would I have to produce to get permission to live on my land? Also would I get permission for a mobile home if I'm growing herbs? If not what would I need to grow to justify my living on it? I know keeping animals would do it but is there anything I could grow?

Sorry for the lengthy post I hope you guys like reading  ;D



Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: bj_cardiff on December 29, 2019, 06:41:02 am
I then found out to register as a smallholding I have to use the land in some way to produce an income,

Does anyone know how much land would I have to cultivate and how much income would I have to produce to get permission to live on my land?

I think your advice is mistaken, as previously said, to register an address as a smallholding you you don't need to use the land to produce any sort of income at all. Most people who own smallholdings do so because of the lifestyle it gives you. Very few of us actually make an income from it. In fact, many of us have work to pay for the privilage of having a smallholding and the costs of keeping livestock.

There are several threads on here about people who would like to buy land put a caravan on it and live on it, or even stay a few weeks a year. Its a fairly common 'goal' and I'm afraid planning rules are there to prevent this from happening. People can't just buy a patch of land and tick a few boxes and live on it I'm afraid.

Good luck with your dream though, do plenty of research before commiting yourself financially, many of us have moved from the city and would never go back :)
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: chrismahon on December 29, 2019, 07:49:45 am
In the UK we had just 2000m2 (˝ acre), but needed a CPH number for the two lambs and Defra registration for the 76 chickens. There were 20 fruit trees and a large vegetable plot. We sold cherries and eggs to cover some of our running costs, but never made a profit as such as we consumed the veg and some of the eggs. I worked out that the payback on our labour was 20p per hour. The land was completely flat, well drained and extremely fertile which made it all possible. So how much land you need will depend on its quality Springbeans and making any kind of profit is highly unlikely, the reward is in eating your own produce knowing that it grew without chemicals and that the welfare standards of the livestock were of the highest possible level.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: twizzel on December 29, 2019, 08:03:56 am
I’d be very surprised if you would be given permission to live on the land if you didn’t have animals. They are a tie to the land and need round the clock care at certain times of year whereas a herb garden or allotment  can certainly be left alone without welfare implications.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Goatherd on December 29, 2019, 08:36:42 am

  Don,t be misled by the comment about animals  Having animals will not get you permision to live on your
   land think of all the sheep on the hills and cattle on the moors also the new forest animals they are all checked
   on but no one is going to get to build a house with them
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Fleecewife on December 29, 2019, 12:26:39 pm
Thinking about your problem a bit more widely (and I'm absolutely with you on the desperate need to get out of the city and onto your own land to GROW something  :garden: )  would it be at all possible for you to work elsewhere, a different city or town?  I ask because London is a place where picking up any land for a song just isn't going to happen.  You would have to have your land so far out that travel would then swallow up all your money and time if you continued to work in the capital.  There are however other places where the cost of land and housing are more affordable, but the reason for that is less work available.  So if you could earn a crust by working online then that would work, or if your work is something you can do almost anywhere, then your options are much greater.


Most people on TAS (apart from the 'accidental' ones) had to wait for quite a while before they could move away from city life, waiting until their finances were right, or their families were at the right stage, or until an appropriate place came up for sale.  It was the same for us and we looked at so many possibles before we found our 'forever home'.  I understand the need to get started and the irresistible need to grow.  Have you tried to get an allotment?  I expect there is a very long waiting list in London though.  There are many pitfalls to avoid in acquiring land, the main one being that you don't want to start out your new life in debt for its purchase, or the need to pay off that debt by the fruits of your labours can stop you enjoying what you are doing.  So you have a lot of research to do yet, but keep dreaming  :thumbsup:


This little clip will only be available for a day or two:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-50866760/gardening-gives-me-a-lot-of-peace (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-50866760/gardening-gives-me-a-lot-of-peace)
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: doganjo on December 29, 2019, 12:45:00 pm
I agree with Fleecewife about most of that, but an allotment won't solve your problem.

You want to actually live outside London and that is your difficulty.

If you can work elsewhere or from home that is your starting point.

Get another job outwith the City or elsewhere in the UK where land with a house on it is less expensive.(don't try to find land and camp on it in the hope of getting planning consent - rarely happens)

Once you have that, then you can decide what to do with the land - even a third of an acre will let you have some fruit bushes and trees and a herb garden.  and lots of wildlife!  :excited: :excited:
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: chrismahon on December 29, 2019, 12:55:52 pm
Significantly cheaper will be a house with land that isn't attached to it, but is some short distance away. Alternatively, for the same money you could have a lot more land. Security will always be an issue unfortunately.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: doganjo on December 29, 2019, 08:45:27 pm
Significantly cheaper will be a house with land that isn't attached to it, but is some short distance away. Alternatively, for the same money you could have a lot more land. Security will always be an issue unfortunately.
Not necessarily.  My house sits in 2 fifths of an acre and it was just sold as a bungalow with a large garden.  It was completely unfenced. It has the potential for another house in the grounds although that isn't my intention.  It is now fenced so my dogs are safe and I intend to have raised beds for vegetables and I'll plant fruit bushes and climbers round the fence. I had a large shed built at the back for my quail an I'll have another one put up for a few chickens soon.

Why do you think security is always an issue as a matter of interest? I have no security issues here and I'm on the edge of the village at the end of a farm road.  My noisy dogs would keep anybody away. :innocent:  :roflanim:
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: pharnorth on December 29, 2019, 09:22:15 pm
Hmmm. Well sadly because with all the cctv in towns the Countryside an hour commute from London is rife with people rifling through your belongings.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Springbeans on December 30, 2019, 03:29:07 am
Thanks for all the advice :thumbsup:

I'm confused now :thinking: can anyone tell me how you managed to live on your smallholding or get permission to? Especially if you've no animals and/or don't earn an income from it?

Fleecewife moving to another cheaper town unfortunately isn't an option, I simply don't want to give my salary to landlords anymore, I want my own property, even with a mortgage it would at least be going back into the property, although I wouldn't buy anything with a mortgage, if I couldn't afford to buy it outright I wouldn't buy it at all. Hence why any land I get won't be much as it is very expensive on the outskirts of London. I love the country life and even if I had loads of money I'd still buy land and not a house in the city.

It's important I stay near London most importantly so I can be near my family. I could look at working from home yes.

Amy ideas on how I can get permission to live on a bit of land if I purchase it? In a caravan/mobile home?

Also does anyone know about a 4yr rule? I read somewhere if I put a caravan there after 4 yrs if undiscovered I'd get permission?




 

Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: cambee on December 30, 2019, 07:12:54 am
Hi Springbeans there are loads of threads on this forum with people querying whether they can put up a caravan etc on land they buy to live there and all the advice says not. Just search the word ‘caravan’ in the forum search button and they’ll all come up. There’s lots of experienced advice. As for your dream of buying land just outside London, I would have thought that you’d therefore be talking about the Home Counties and that any parcel of land would be very expensive anyway? Plus you’ll already know how much it costs to commute to London from outside- extortionate. To put things into context, we sold a family detached home just outside London and with the proceeds we bought 18 acres plus a house, outbuildings and a holiday let in Derbyshire. So my advice would follow Fleecewife - think about moving if that’s possible. As for making money, my husband worked another 12 years after we moved on a good wage. He has only recently retired. We keep sheep for lamb, pigs for pork and chickens for eggs. Even with selling produce we still make a loss after 3 years. The only thing in profit is the holiday let, that pays all the bills. Our land is too steep to grow vegetables etc so I can’t comment on profitability there. However, we do love our lifestyle, keep very fit and busy and that’s where the true profit is. Why don’t you try an allotment initially (just to check that you have green fingers!) then start a saving plan to realise your dream in a few years outside the London area. It took us 15 years from plan to fruition (though we were also raising a family so that delays things). Good luck with your dreams.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: SallyintNorth on December 30, 2019, 10:27:26 am
Most of the people here “manage to live on their smallholding” because they bought a smallholding with a house on it.

Have a read of the Chapter 7 stuff under This Land is Ours (http://tlio.org.uk/chapter7/), it takes you through all the stuff about 4 and 10 year rules.  But to put it simply, if you were able to build a dwelling and live in it for 4 years without planning giving you an enforcement notice, and can prove that you’ve lived there for four years and have not behaved fraudulently, the planning office would lose the right to take enforcement action.  It’s not the same as planning permission, you have no rights to extend, to rebuild, or anything like that, just your use of the existing building becomes lawful after 4 years if there has been no enforcement action.  If you are living in something other than a built dwelling, then it’s 10 years.

I suspect you would have little chance of going undetected for that length of time within an hour of the capital :/.

Absolutely echo the suggestions to get an allotment and see how much you really love all the hard work, dirty hands, filthy clothes, etc, before investing all your hard-earned and then finding you’ve taken on a millstone.

If it’s just about wanting to be able to be in a more country environment and not wanting all your salary going to landlords, what about looking for a park home?
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: SallyintNorth on December 30, 2019, 10:38:24 am
Another suggestion would be to join WWOOF UK and do some WWOOFing with the hosts in and around London.  I did a quick search and found several; here (https://wwoof.org.uk/user/57110)’s one.

You’ll learn a lot about what’s involved, and will get “in” with the right sort of people to hear about any opportunities. You might even find somewhere that you can buy into.  I ended up buying a farm with someone I’d WWOOFed for :)
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Backinwellies on December 31, 2019, 03:48:34 pm


I'm confused now :thinking: can anyone tell me how you managed to live on your smallholding or get permission to? Especially if you've no animals and/or don't earn an income from it?

Do you really want to 'smallhold' …. or just get a cheap place buy to live?  If the former then Sally's idea of WOOFing is a good one …. try it out and see how much you like it.
  If the latter then I'm afraid there are no shortcuts … its move to the country proper where you could get a house and land or stay where you are and save hard for a move in the future.

Land an hour from London is likely to be 30,000 per acre and be in green belt …  can't see you getting away with living in a caravan for 10 years without being spoted.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: doganjo on December 31, 2019, 04:54:47 pm
"I'm confused now :thinking: can anyone tell me how you managed to live on your smallholding or get permission to? Especially if you've no animals and/or don't earn an income from it?  as a few people have said, we didn't buy land with a view to putting a house/caravan etc on it.  We bought a house with land attached with a view to raising animals/growing vegetables/fruit.  As I said mine is 2 fifths of an acre, I have gradually downsized as I get older from 24 acres in 1994 to moving to a smaller house with a small paddock this year 25 years later

It's important I stay near London most importantly so I can be near my family. I could look at working from home yes. That sounds the most sensible idea to me.  But as more than one person has said, prices around London are astronomical, so perhaps you could start with just a large garden?  Or maybe sell your present home and rent one with a garden? https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property/London.html (https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property/London.html)

Amy ideas on how I can get permission to live on a bit of land if I purchase it? In a caravan/mobile home? Highly unlikely - especially near London

Also does anyone know about a 4yr rule? I read somewhere if I put a caravan there after 4 yrs if undiscovered I'd get permission? The planning folk are on the lookout for that sort of thing all the time - it's their job to stop any untoward building in green belt areas
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: mart6 on December 31, 2019, 08:02:44 pm
Quote
Also does anyone know about a 4yr rule? I read somewhere if I put a caravan there after 4 yrs if undiscovered I'd get permission? The planning folk are on the lookout for that sort of thing all the time - it's their job to stop any untoward building in green belt areas

The 4 year rule applies to a building if you make it your home with facilities toilet bath/shower and its not discovered  then it can lawfully become your home if you apply for LDC

Couple of links giving a bit more detail

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=19&ved=2ahUKEwjGqevB1-DmAhVGPcAKHbktBT8QFjASegQIBhAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fecab.planningportal.co.uk%2Fuploads%2F1app%2Fguidance%2Fguidance_note-lawful_development_certificates.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3HsrjgOFIE308mBWrWS9bu (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=19&ved=2ahUKEwjGqevB1-DmAhVGPcAKHbktBT8QFjASegQIBhAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fecab.planningportal.co.uk%2Fuploads%2F1app%2Fguidance%2Fguidance_note-lawful_development_certificates.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3HsrjgOFIE308mBWrWS9bu)

http://planninglawblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/4-year-rule.html (http://planninglawblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/4-year-rule.html)

For a caravan its 10 years
search planning portal for LDC  or enforcement appeals to see whats involved.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Steph Hen on January 04, 2020, 07:25:26 pm
Hello, just wondering about your situation? Is it essential you're an hour from the capital for commuting/caring or just so it's quick home after a Sunday visit to your parents? I'd think this location would still be very expensive to rent or buy and from what I've been told (friends in Cambridge, Slough, reading, Harpenden, etc,) allotments take years on waiting lists.
Could you stay in London but downsize to a room in a shared house or live with family to save some cash for a few years or something?
I have relatives in Halifax and property there is very cheap, I expect you'd rent or buy a house with land for half what you'd pay near London. But you'd be 2-3 hours from London so not something for every day commuting. As for getting a caravan/house hidden for a few years, neighbours can be incredibly nosy and militant; I've had different friends reported for all sorts like leaving a horse trailer parked in a field for a few months.  As an unfortunate general rule, locals don't tend to be too accommodating of 'the vegan moved here from London', until you correct their prejudices; show you're open minded, work hard and want to be part of the community.  Good luck  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Springbeans on January 11, 2020, 08:37:17 pm
Thanks for all the advice and a very Happy New year to all  :excited: :hug: sorry for delay responding was away for the new yr.

Having thought about it all I don't think this land thing is going to work for me unfortunately  ???  If I can't live on it even if I grow stuff etc etc then it's no point, I don't think it wise to buy it and then get into years long struggle for a permit etc, and I can't afford one with a house on it already, prices down here are extortionate.

Living with family isn't an option they all live up north where I was born and I've not had contact with them for years and wouldn't now we don't have that type of close relationship, my kids were born and live here in London and I don't want to leave them or be too far from them. I could stay with friends but I'm too proud to do that I'm a grown woman now not a teenage student and would feel out of place. Plus my kids although grown sometimes visit me and it wouldn't be the same if I were in a shared house.

Steph allotments are the same here virtually impossible to get, the very few available are claimed by years old residents and rarely become available, when they do the waiting list is decades long. But even if I had one I couldn't find the time to use it, I'd much rather go tinker in my friends gardens when I have the time to visit, a couple have things planting out back and a greenhouse which I help out in.

This might sound contradictory to me saying I'd not go further north but I would consider moving out of the country altogether if it got me out of this cycle. I've a friend whom bought acres of land with olive trees on it in Spain yrs ago after being unable to afford it here and her kids visit regularly for holidays. Although now with brexit that plan might go capoot too.

My youngest is almost out of uni and once he is I think I could consider somewhere abroad if options still remain after brexit, I'll have to look into it. My kids grew up traveling a lot we go away somewhere new every year and they all have the wanderlust, I'd be lucky if even 1 remains settled in the UK by the time I'm very old, so I don't think me moving would bother them but we still see each other every other week so I don't think I'd give that up just yet but it's an option I'll be exploring.

Renting just isn't for me. I should have put down a deposit for a house yrs ago but chose to rent instead because I didn't want to commit to one place and it gave me the freedom to move and live in different places, I've lived all over London but it came at a price.

I believe renting should only really be for younger people, once you have a family buying should be the plan. When I rent I've given all my years of hard earned cash to a landlord instead of investing in my family and home, it's difficult to call anywhere home because its only on loan on a monthly basis till the landlord decides to sell it etc. Not to mention I have to carry on paying rent even when on holiday and any payments missed they would simply move someone else in. The biggest pitfall however is that there would be nothing to leave my kids.

Well done to everybody whom decided to buy land instead of a house in the city, the better option I reckon :thumbsup: just wish I realised it way back when I could've done the same :idea:

Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: doganjo on January 12, 2020, 01:15:40 pm
What about Scotland?  :innocent: :innocent:  Plenty houses with land up here and much lower prices than London.
Title: Re: Land size for smallholding
Post by: Backinwellies on January 12, 2020, 06:21:39 pm
If your youngest is leaving Uni soon then now is the time to think about your own future ( offspring will not opt to stay near you when the world is calling) .   What do you really want to do?  Where do you really want to do it? (London area is not the area for a life in the countryside)   

Try  Help X  and WOOFing sites and go and try things out

maybe you would like to do Uni (if you haven't already)?