Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19

Farm Diversification                                                                          

10.6 The NPPF requires that planning policy should promote the development and diversification of agricultural and other land-based rural businesses.

10.7 The Council wishes to support proposals for diversification that will strengthen and protect the productive base of the farm unit that allows the farmer to continue to farm. The Council will expect an outline farm plan to be submitted with any planning application, indicating how the new diversification schemes integrates with and contributes to the overall business plan for the farm. By granting planning consent for acceptable diversification projects, the Council is indicating its long term support for a continuing viable agricultural community in Thanet.

10.8 However, farm diversification projects have the potential to result in adverse effects, for example, traffic and landscape impacts, and the depletion of financial and land resources. Applicants will therefore need to carefully assess the implications of new proposals, both for their own benefit, and to enable the Council to give support to acceptable and viable schemes.

The following policy seeks to achieve this balance:

Policy E17 - Farm Diversification

Proposals to diversify the range of economic activities on a farm will be permitted if all the following criteria are met:

1) The proposal is compatible with the agricultural operations on the farm, and is operated as part of the farm holding.

2) There would be no irreversible loss of best and most versatile agricultural land.

3) The likely traffic generation could be safely accommodated on the local highway network.

Proposals should where possible utilise available existing farm buildings.