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

Best and most versatile agricultural land

10.9 The Agricultural Land Classification system (ALC) provides a method for assessing the quality of farmland to enable informed choices to be made about its future use within the planning system and the presence of best and most versatile agricultural land should be taken into account alongside other sustainability considerations when determining planning applications.

10.10 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires that planning authorities should take into account the economic and other benefits of best and most versatile land. Where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, local planning authorities should seek to use areas of poorer quality. The majority of agricultural land in Thanet is best and most versatile and therefore the following policy applies.

Policy E18 - Best and Most Versatile Agricultural Land

Except on sites allocated for development by virtue of other policies in this Plan, planning permission will not be granted for development which would result in the irreversible loss of best and most versatile agricultural land unless it can be clearly demonstrated that:

1) the benefits of the proposed development outweigh the harm resulting from the loss of agricultural land,

2) there are no otherwise suitable sites of poorer agricultural quality that can accommodate the development, and

3) the development will not result in the remainder of the agricultural holding becoming not viable or lead to likely accumulated and significant losses of high quality agricultural land.

Applications for solar parks on best and most versatile agricultural land should comply with Policy CC06 - Solar Parks