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Author Topic: Agricultural Land - what can or can't I do?  (Read 29855 times)


  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Nr. Stansted Airport, Essex/Herts
    • Horticultural Services
Agricultural Land - what can or can't I do?
« on: February 16, 2013, 02:49:52 pm »
I own a piece of land classed, by the local council / LPA, as 'agricultural', and it apparently does not fall within any categories in the Use Classes.

The land has been used for 30-odd years for general storage and horticulture, the latter falls into agricultural use anyway.  However a couple of years ago I received a letter from the LPA's Enforcement Department, demanding the land was cleared.
I've been battling with the LPA for the last couple of years, and after being refused a Change of Use (existing) Certificate, I went to appeal and have just got the answer. 

In short I have lost, I have not been able to prove 10 years of continuous storage use.  However, I am in a better position now than I was at the start of the 'issues', as the sheds and the poly-tunnel have been accepted as established structures.

I currently keep poultry on the land, all coops are moveable, and the enforcement notice in place says poultry-related items can stay.  There is also a mass of horticultural items that I assume can stay; pots, seed trays, water butts, etc.

I work within the horticulture trade, mainly as a gardener, I want to store and maintain lawnmowers and other horticultural equipment for use within my company.  As horticulture falls within agriculture, would this be a permitted use of the land?
Would I have to pay business rates on the land or sheds?

Can I keep any 4x4 vehicles on the land, or would that fall outside agricultural use?  What if they were used on the land for the purpose of agriculture?

If I converted a vehicle (non-running, but rolls freely) into a chicken coop, would that be accepted as livestock housing?

I am currently installing a livestock fence around the perimeter.  This is in keeping with the area and use of the land.  I want to install some internal fencing, are domestic fence panels acceptable, or would that class as me turning agricultural land into a garden?

I'm going in circles trying to get answers, and any advice would be appreciated!  I would contact the Local Council's Planning Advice Team, but they are completely useless!


  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: Agricultural Land - what can or can't I do?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 01:40:06 am »
I feel your pain :)

Its often down to the planners attitude and mood on the morning you first meet the said planning officer.  Maybe they didnt get a rumble the night before or had an argument with the kids before leaving for school and so you didnt quite meet eye to eye because they were in a bad mood - perhaps the paperwork has been lost on their part - perhaps youve been happily just milling around working your arse off trying to earn a crust for more years that the planning officer has actually worked in a lifetime  - now they just have a thorn in the backside and nothing you do will be good enough.  Thats the planning authority - it can't be solved other than by spending lots of evenings pulling your hair out.

Do you have any neighbours that would swear on the fact that you have been using the land and its 'established'.  Any chance of getting google satelight images - in some part of the country they are 5 - 6 years old - they must be images out there from 2003?

I've got problems with the planners cos I have car parking signs - they say I cant have a car park - its only about 3 or 4 cars on the weekends and holiday a day - if I dont put the signs up they think the middle of the drive is a car parking space.

IMO these days -
If you want a new gate entrance - fit some lights to the JCB ;)
If you want to extention a shed - do it in the wet when no bastard is about.

Whats the scale of your business? How many lawnmowers + kit do you have and is the yard kitted up to look like an outlet?

The 'curtalige' of your home could be sneakily extended I spose - But I wouldnt expect to be able to fence of the closest fields and then put a caravan in it without a few people wondering wft.

It might be worth talking to the CLA or take some other legal advise - the language they use for law is far out for a reach - so we cant use it without paid help.

Best of luck.



  • Joined Nov 2009
  • East Sussex
    • OaklandsPigs
Re: Agricultural Land - what can or can't I do?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 07:26:08 am »
Might be worth getting soem expert advice, Acorus have a track record on rural stuff
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  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Nr. Stansted Airport, Essex/Herts
    • Horticultural Services
Re: Agricultural Land - what can or can't I do?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 12:47:31 pm »
I'm a one-man-band so not got loads, half a dozen mowers, strimmers, couple of hedgecutters, etc...

The direct neighbour is the one who wants to buy the land.  The others either won't want to support me, or won't want to stick their necks out!  I don't live in that area anymore, so I 'dont belong in the village'...

We didn't realise the land wasn't registered for storage, or that it needed to be.  So we didn't take hundreds if photos over the years of what we had stored, why would we!?  Overhead photos don't help as most of items stored were under tree cover or in the sheds.  Even one shed was under tree cover so had a job proving that existed!

This has been going on for 2 years and I'm sick of it, spent more than its worth on legal and planning fees, and set myself back work-wise.

So now I'm just tying to figure out if I can do what I want to do if I leave it as agriculture...


  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Nr. Stansted Airport, Essex/Herts
    • Horticultural Services
Re: Agricultural Land - what can or can't I do?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 06:17:37 pm »
Another quick question to add...

I have a small trailer that I use for collecting straw bales for the poultry, and will also be using it for moving hedge cuttings and small trees.  So effectively it is used purely for agriculture.

Can I keep it on agricultural land?


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