Relevance of new Planning Policy

PPS7 is the part of the government's planning policy that is relevent to the countryside and to new building in the countryside.
To get a complete PDF copy of PPS 7 go to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister at and follow the planning links. This link gets straight to Planning Policy Statements page (at the moment)

Note: some sections of PPS 7 are missing here since they are not relevant to the case


Directly relevant sections in orange

The Government's objectives for rural areas that are relevant to this Planning Policy Statement (PPS) are:

(i) To raise the quality of life and the environment in rural areas through the promotion of:

- thriving, inclusive and sustainable rural communities ensuring people have decent places to live by improving the quality and sustainability of local environments and neighbourhoods;

- sustainable economic growth and diversification;

- good quality, sustainable development that respects and, where possible, enhances local distinctiveness and the intrinsic qualities of the countryside; and

- continued protection of the open countryside for the benefit of all, with the highest level of protection for our most valued landscapes and environmental resources

(ii) To promote more sustainable patterns of development:

- focusing most development in or next to existing towns and villages;

- preventing urban sprawl;

- discouraging the development of ‘green field’ land, and, where such land must be used, ensuring it is not used wastefully;

- promoting a range of uses to maximise the potential benefits of the countryside fringing urban areas; and

- providing appropriate leisure opportunities to enable urban and rural dwellers to enjoy the wider countryside.

(iii) Promoting the development of the English regions by improving their economic performance so that all are able to reach their full potential -by developing competitive, diverse and thriving rural enterprise that provides a range of jobs and underpins strong economies.

(iv) To promote sustainable, diverse and adaptable agriculture sectors where farming achieves high environmental standards, minimising impact on natural resources, and manages valued landscapes and bio-diversity; contributes both directly and indirectly to rural economic diversity; is itself competitive and profitable; and provides high quality products that the public wants

Relevance to Avalon Permaculture Gardens Planning application



(i) We contribute to thriving rural community




We are an example of diversification which on a small scale is successful economically


Our project is sustainable development that enhances the environment.


We protect the ecology and environmental resources of the land


(ii) Our project is a sustainable development -




Our buildings are low impact and not urban sprawl and Avalon Permaculture Gardens is still greenmailed


Ours is a new use that maximises benefit of countryside and people come from town and country to enjoy the environment here on groups and volunteering - benefiting from hands on experience.

(iii) We employ people

We are part of local economy and spend money locally brought in by our course participants , Also some spend money directly on B&Bs and evening meals out and often once in the area stay for longer times. We employ others.

(iv) We do all of this and well

Permaculture promotes bio-diversity while producing high quality naturally produced food, and here, also education.

The courses we offer are in demand and thus wanted see enclosed letters

From p7-8 of pps 7


1. Sustainable development is the core principle underpinning land use planning. The following key principles should be applied in combination with all the policies set out in this PPS:

(i) Decisions on development proposals should be based on sustainable development principles, ensuring an integrated approach to the consideration of:

- social inclusion, recognising the needs of everyone;

- effective protection and enhancement of the environment;

- prudent use of natural resources; and

- maintaining high and stable levels of economic growth and employment. The approach to planning for sustainable development is set out in more detail in Planning Policy Statement 1 (PPS1).

(ii) Good quality, carefully-sited accessible development within existing towns and villages should be allowed where it benefits the local economy and/or community (e.g. affordable housing for identified local needs); maintains or enhances the local environment; and does not conflict with other planning policies.

(iii) Accessibility should be a key consideration in all development decisions. Most developments which are likely to generate large numbers of trips should be located in or next to towns or other service centres that are accessible by public transport, walking and cycling, in line with the policies set out in PPG13Transport. Decisions on the location of other developments in rural areas should, where possible, give people the greatest opportunity to access them by public transport, walking and cycling, consistent with achieving the primary purpose of the development.

(iv) New building development in the open countryside away from existing settlements, or outside areas allocated for development in development plans, should be strictly controlled; the Governments overall aim is to protect the countryside for the sake of its intrinsic character and beauty, the diversity of its landscapes, heritage and wildlife, the wealth of its natural resources and so it may be enjoyed by all.

(v) Priority should be given to the re-use of previously- developed (‘brown field’) sites in preference to the development of green field sites, except in cases where there are no brown field sites available, or these brown field sites perform so poorly in terms of sustainability considerations (for example, in their remoteness from settlements and services) in comparison with greenfield sites.

(vi) All development in rural areas should be well designed and inclusive, in keeping and scale with its location, and sensitive to the character of the countryside and local distinctiveness.

from page 9

Economic development and employment

5. Planning authorities should support a wide range of economic activity in rural areas. Taking account of regional priorities expressed in RSS, and in line with the policies in paragraphs 2-4 above, local planning authorities should:

(i) identify in LDDs suitable sites for future economic development, particularly in those rural areas where there is a need for employment creation and economic regeneration;

(ii) set out in LDDs their criteria for permitting economic development in different locations, including the future expansion of business premises, to facilitate healthy and diverse economic activity in rural areas.



(i)We provide access to the land and courses to a wide range of people, many on low income, some on work exchange We aim to be very socially inclusive making our work and what we offer available to people from all walks of life. See letters

How we manage and maintain our land using Permaculture and organic principles protects and enhances the environment.

We conserve resources: we recycle virtually all waste through compost loo, grey water reed bed, composting systems, we use locally sourced wood for fuel and building. (We have planted trees for our own pollarded and coppiced fuel source in future)






iii) we generate some trips but not large numbers, many people do cycle including us and we are on a bus route which also links us with the local railway station. We have an electric bicycle charged by solar and wind power, which makes trips to and from Glastonbury, Street or to the local shops in Butleigh or Keinton Mandeville easy - it is our preferred mode of transport.




(iv) we agree with strict control and we protect wildlife and bio-diversity and provide access.

We agree to be bound by our conservation oriented land management plan.


v) no brownfield site that is affordable for this sort of project is available and also unlikely to have the quality of surroundings that facilitates the work we offer





(vi) New dwelling will be hidden, well deigned and small scale. We have already planted extensive hedging, trees and other plant screening to screen all development so far.




5. We employ ourselves full time and others on a part time basis.

from page 10 - 11

9. In planning for housing in their rural areas, local planning authorities should apply the policies in PPG3. They should:

(i) have particular regard to PPG3 guidance on the provision of housing in villages and should make sufficient land available, either within or adjoining existing villages, to meet the needs of local people; and

(ii) strictly control new house building (including single dwellings) in the countryside, away from established settlements or from areas allocated for housing in development plans.

10. Isolated new houses in the countryside will require special justification for planning permission to be granted. Where the special justification for an isolated new house relates to the essential need for a worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside, planning authorities should follow the advice in Annex A to this PPS.

11. Very occasionally the exceptional quality and innovative nature of the design of a proposed, isolated new house may provide this special justification for granting planning permission. Such a design should be truly outstanding and ground-breaking, for example, in its use of materials, methods of construction or its contribution to protecting and enhancing the environment so helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas. The value of such a building will be found in its reflection of the highest standards in contemporary architecture, the significant enhancement of its immediate setting and its sensitivity to the defining characteristics of the local area.






(ii) we agree with strict control and we protect wildlife and bio-diversity and provide access.

we agree to be bound by our conservation oriented land management plan.

10, see later




11. Though a simple and small dwelling, our proposed low impact home will be of innovative design, using bolt together modules, made off site. These will be made from environmentally benign, non toxic, natural and where possible locally sourced materials thus protecting and enhancing the environment. Using Thermal fleece insulation, which is specially treated wool, and double glazing units for windows ( in this case slightly defective yet sound reject units that would otherwise go to landfill), the dwelling will be well insulated reducing heat cost. Top windows to be angled at 60 degrees for maximum heat and light gain from the sun in winter. Solar electric and solar water panels on the roof, similarly angled. A relatively light weight living roof will add insulation, blend in with the landscape and benefit wildlife. It will be a model for a small, low cost, low impact, well made, solar aided eco dwelling and we believe will enhance the setting. The energy efficient design and local sourcing of materials will contribute to protecting and enhancing the environment.

See plans and further info for eco dwelling.

From page 11


14. The policies in this section apply to the largely undeveloped countryside that separates cities, towns and villages. Whilst much of the land use activity in the countryside is outside the scope of the planning system, planning has an important role in supporting and facilitating development and land uses which enable those who earn a living from, and help to maintain and manage the countryside, to continue to do so. RSS should recognise the environmental, economic and social value of the countryside that is of national, regional or, where appropriate, sub-regional significance. Policies in RSS and LDDs should seek to maintain and enhance these values, so enabling the countryside to remain an important natural resource, contribute to national and regional prosperity and be enjoyed by all.

From page 12

Countryside protection and development in the countryside

15. Planning policies should provide a positive framework for facilitating sustainable development that supports traditional land-based activities and makes the most of new leisure and recreational opportunities that require a countryside location. Planning authorities should continue to ensure that the quality and character of the wider countryside is protected and, where possible, enhanced. They should have particular regard to any areas that have been statutorily designated for their landscape, wildlife or historic qualities where greater priority should be given to restraint of potentially damaging development.

16. When preparing policies for LDDs and determining planning applications for development in the countryside, local planning authorities should:

(i) support development that delivers diverse and sustainable farming enterprises;

(ii) support other countryside-based enterprises and activities which contribute to rural economies, and/or promote recreation in and the enjoyment of the countryside;

(iii) take account of the need to protect natural resources;

(iv) provide for the sensitive exploitation of renewable energy sources in accordance with the policies set out in PPS22; and

(v) conserve specific features and sites of landscape, wildlife and historic or architectural value, in accordance with statutory designations.

14. We earn a living maintaining and managing the countryside and provide access for enjoyment and also education.











15. Ours is a new recreational opportunity that also ensures the quality if the countryside is maintained and indeed enhanced. We have replanted orchard areas using many traditional varieties, at present having planted over a 100 fruit trees, mainly apple with some, pear, plum, damson and cherry. These new orchard areas totally about three quarters of a n acre are between 2 and nearly 6 years old now.

These fields used to be orchards.



16. We completely fulfil number 16 i - iv and where it is relevant, v.


i) We are a diverse and sustainable Permaculture enterprise


ii) We area a countryside based enterprise that contributes to the local economy and promotes recreation in and enjoyment of the countryside

iii)We protect natural resources


iv) We use renewable energy resources in a sensitive way

(v) We are a county wildlife site

Re-use of buildings in the countryside

17. The Government’s policy is to support the re-use of appropriately located and suitably constructed existing buildings in the countryside where this would meet sustainable development objectives. Re-use for economic development purposes will usually be preferable, but residential conversions may be more appropriate in some locations, and for some types of building. Planning authorities should therefore set out in LDDs their policy criteria for permitting the conversion and re-use of buildings in the countryside for economic, residential and any other purposes, including mixed uses.

These criteria should take account of:

- the potential impact on the countryside and landscapes and wildlife;

- specific local economic and social needs and opportunities;

- settlement patterns and accessibility to service centres, markets and housing;

- the suitability of different types of buildings, and of different scales, for re-use;

- the need to preserve or the desirability of preserving, buildings of historic or architectural importance or interest, or which otherwise contribute to local character






From page 15

Agricultural development

27. The Government recognises the important and varied roles of agriculture, including in the maintenance and management of the countryside and most of our valued landscapes. Planning policies in RSS and LDDs should recognise these roles and support development proposals that will enable farming and farmers to:

(i) become more competitive, sustainable and environmentally friendly;

(ii) adapt to new and changing markets;

(iii) comply with changing legislation and associated guidance;

(iv) diversify into new agricultural opportunities (e.g. renewable energy crops); or

(v) broaden their operations to ‘add value’ to their primary produce.

17. We feel that our stables make a suitable catering and accommodation centre for this type of enterprise as the conversion demonstrates low impact way of doing things and also makes a much more economically productive space without changing outer appearances, or adding other buildings

-Thus the impact on the countryside is nil

-There is a demand and thus need for what we offer in the area

-The stables are of the right scale for the nature of the business

-We do employ people part time as well as ourselves full time, thus we provide economic opportunity, also we fulfil various social needs.

-Supporting families, raising environmental, ecological awareness, education that helps people through their psychological and emotional problems, All integrated into an actual and philosophical background of acknowledging and experiencing our intimate relationship to the natural world.

-It would be difficult to site this type of centre next to existing settlement because a) If too near to other residences it could cause disturbance and visual offence - since tents would be visible from upper floors of adjacent properties - here they are screened. b, An essential part of what we offer comes from this not being a built up environment, ie the experience of being immersed in nature does not come from being in a town or village.

We are close enough to town for us personally and a fair portion of our clients to cycle or use public transport - we have a solar / wind powered electric bicycle.





v) We add value to our primary produce by turning it into meals for courses and retreats

From page 16 -17

Farm diversification

30. Recognising that diversification into non-agricultural activities is vital to the continuing viability of many farm enterprises, local planning authorities should:

(i) set out in their LDDs the criteria to be applied to planning applications for farm diversification projects;

(ii) be supportive of well-conceived farm diversification schemes for business purposes that contribute to sustainable development objectives and help to sustain the agricultural enterprise, and are consistent in their scale with their rural location. This applies equally to farm diversification schemes around the fringes of urban areas; and

(iii) where relevant, give favourable consideration to proposals for diversification in Green Belts where the development preserves the openness of the Green Belt and does not conflict with the purposes of including land within it. (Where farm diversification proposals in the Green Belt would result in inappropriate development in terms of PPG2, any wider benefits of the diversification may contribute to the ‘very special circumstances’ required by PPG2 for a development to be granted planning permission).

31. A supportive approach to farm diversification should not result in excessive expansion and encroachment of building development into the countryside. Planning authorities should:

(i) encourage the re-use or replacement of existing buildings where feasible, having regard to paragraphs 17-21; and

(ii) have regard to the amenity of any nearby residents or other rural businesses that may be adversely affected by new types of on-farm development.





ii) When we first started our project on the land we grew vegetables for sale, but found we could not economically compete with mechanised growers, so we needed to diversify. We decided on our present way of being a teaching and demonstration centre as being a more viable way of making our livelihood

Our business has been developing over the past 6 years and is now successful and expanding whilst supporting the permacultural agriculture that is its foundation. This small scale business does not and will not create development out of proportion to its scale. Nor has it created, or in the future is it going to create, unduly large traffic increases since there is a natural limit to how many people can come on courses here - usually 20 and since we are a permaculture centre we encourage people to get here by car sharing and public transport or bicycle.

iii) The development is low impact and the land is still greenfield, in fact with a greater bio-diversity than before, thus the green belt has not been diminished. If it were, the very foundation of our business (giving people a positive, therapeutic and educational experience of nature) would be damaged.


Planned new dwelling house is within the area of the existing buildings

i) We have reused stables as group centre,

ii) No complaints in 6 years of development except recently to the council that we are living here, which does not affect any neighbours amenity materially.


34. Regional planning bodies and local planning authorities should recognise through RSS and LDDs that tourism and leisure activities are vital to many rural economies. As well as sustaining many rural businesses, these industries are a significant source of employment and help to support the prosperity of country towns and villages, and sustain historic country houses, local heritage and culture. RSS and LDDs should:

(i) support, through planning policies, sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments that benefit rural businesses, communities and visitors and which utilise and enrich, but do not harm, the character of the countryside, its towns,villages, buildings and other features ;

From Page 19

Tourist accommodation

37. The Government expects most tourist accommodation requiring new buildings to be located in, or adjacent to, existing towns and villages.

38. The conversion of suitable existing rural buildings to provide hotel and other serviced accommodation should be allowed, taking into account the policies on the re-use of rural buildings in paragraphs 17 and 18. Similarly, planning authorities should adopt a positive approach to proposed extensions to existing tourist accommodation where the scale of the extension is appropriate to its location and where the extension may help to ensure the future viability of such businesses.

39. In considering planning policies and development proposals for static holiday and touring caravan parks and holiday chalet developments, planning authorities should:

(i) carefully weigh the objective of providing adequate facilities and sites with the need to protect landscapes and environmentally sensitive sites, and examine the scope for relocating any existing, visually or environmentally-intrusive sites away from sensitive areas, or for re-location away from sites prone to flooding or coastal erosion;

(ii) where appropriate (e.g. in popular holiday areas), set out policies in LDDs on the provision of new holiday and touring caravan sites and chalet developments, and on the expansion and improvement of existing sites and developments (e.g. to improve layouts and provide better landscaping); and

(iii) ensure that new or expanded sites are not prominent in the landscape and that any visual intrusion is minimised by effective, high-quality screening.

40. Local planning authorities should support the provision of other forms of self-catering holiday accommodation in rural areas where this would accord with sustainable development objectives. The re-use and conversion of existing non-residential buildings for this purpose may have added benefits , e.g. as a farm diversification scheme


Personal development within the context of nature and horticultural practices in harmony with nature together with education, together constitute a leisure activity in the countryside. Our business employs local people, generates business for local B&Bs and pubs and shops and thus supports local prosperity. Of course also we mostly spend the money we earn locally.
All without harming the character of the countryside.

i) We are offering a form of eco aware, self regenerating tourism and leisure in a way that we feel enriches and enhances the landscape




We are adjacent to 2 villages and there are cottages at the fishponds and the Dove studios, both fairly nearby, that are part of Butleigh, all be it beyond the development zone.

We are re using existing rural buildings to provide ‘serviced accommodation” and our proposed our dwelling is within their area and will not be visible from the road.













iii. The camping and in fact all aspects of the project are all thoroughly screened by mixed native hedge.

40, We offer self catering camping holiday retreats with an eco - educational and therapeutic orientation.

Annex A


1. Paragraph 10 of PPS7 makes clear that isolated new houses in the countryside require special justification for planning permission to be granted. One of the few circumstances in which isolated residential development may be justified is when accommodation is required to enable agricultural, forestry and certain other full-time workers to live at, or in the immediate vicinity of, their place of work. It will often be as convenient and more sustainable for such workers to live in nearby towns or villages, or suitable existing dwellings, so avoiding new and potentially intrusive development in the countryside. However, there will be some cases where the nature and demands of the work concerned make it essential for one or more people engaged in the enterprise to live at, or very close to, the site of their work. Whether this is essential in any particular case will depend on the needs of the enterprise concerned and not on the personal preferences or circumstances of any of the individuals involved.

2. It is essential that all applications for planning permission for new occupational dwellings in the countryside are scrutinised thoroughly with the aim of detecting attempts to abuse (e.g. through speculative proposals) the concession that the planning system makes for such dwellings. In particular, it will be important to establish whether the stated intentions to engage in farming, forestry or any other rural-based enterprise, are genuine, are reasonably likely to materialise and are capable of being sustained for a reasonable period of time. It will also be important to establish that the needs of the intended enterprise require one or more of the people engaged in it to live nearby.

Annex A


We thoroughly agree with the intentions of PPS7 and want our consent to be tied to our management plans.





As regards the need to live here see supporting statement document and para 4 below that show the case in detail.


We are very happy to co -operate with such an assessment.

We want to fully engage with the scrutinisation process and leave no room for setting dangerous precedents. There have been enough special exceptions given using legal agreements and special conditions to be sure that precedents can be avoided,
Over the past six years we have been completely focused on developing this business which is our heartfelt passion. We have lived on low income because we have re invested all spare cash to the development of this venture. We feel six years of very hard work and frugal living, and the creation of a successful business recognised as exceptional in the eyes of many who have visited us, is beyond the scope of any fraudulent speculator.
Also see enclosed letters from participants of courses and sessions and brochures of courses run over the 6 years and magazine articles written. these all show the genuineness of our endeavour.

Note: Paragraph 15 of Annexe A states that other occupational dwellings should be subject to paras 3-13. So given the mixed horticultural, educational and therapeutic nature of our business we are applying as a rural business with a horticultural basis that requires our living on site. thus, in this case, we suggest that the term ‘mixed use rural business’ replaces ‘agricultural’ in these paragraphs.

Permanent agricultural dwellings

3. New permanent dwellings should only be allowed to support existing agricultural activities on well-established agricultural units, providing:

(i) there is a clearly established existing functional need (see paragraph 4 below);

(ii) the need relates to a full-time worker, or one who is primarily employed in agriculture and does not relate to a part-time requirement;

(iii) the unit and the agricultural activity concerned have been established for at least three years, have been profitable for at least one of them, are currently financially sound, and have a clear prospect of remaining so (see paragraph 8 below);

(iv) the functional need could not be fulfilled by another existing dwelling on the unit, or any other existing accommodation in the area which is suitable and available for occupation by the workers concerned; and

(v) other planning requirements, e.g. in relation to access, or impact on the countryside, are satisfied.


A functional test is necessary to establish whether it is essential for the proper functioning of the enterprise for one or more workers to be readily available at most times. Such a requirement might arise, for example, if workers are needed to be on hand day and night:

(i) in case animals or agricultural processes require essential care at short notice;

(ii) to deal quickly with emergencies that could otherwise cause serious loss of crops or products, for example, by frost damage or the failure of automatic systems.








5. In cases where the local planning authority is particularly concerned about possible abuse, it should investigate the history of the holding to establish the recent pattern of use of land and buildings and whether, for example, any dwellings, or buildings suitable for conversion to dwellings, have recently been sold separately from the farmland concerned. Such a sale could constitute evidence of lack of agricultural need.


We have been here 6 years that is well established.
As regards the need to live here see supporting statement and para 4 below that show the case in detail.

(ii)We are both full time workers here

(iii) We have been here 6 years and profitable for more than one year. Though in the previous five years we did make some profit - it was just modest, but enough to get by on. Now it is financially sound - see business plan and accounts for details.


(iv) We have no pre - established accommodation on site unless you count the stables which double up as a catering centre and office at the moment and means we have groups of up to twenty people invading our personal space regularly - hence the need for a separate dwelling.

Locally there is no housing available at an affordable price,

(v)see relevant sections in the application.

Reasons for being on site include:

• The nature of the project means we work long days usually 10 hours, often up to 15 hours in the warmer months working from early morning into the evening. See Diary entries section, showing what we do at what times throughout the year.

• i) Polytunnel and greenhouse management, We need to open the polytunnel and greenhouse early in the morning and close them up in the evening and adjust them at regular intervals through out the day to ensure adequate ventilation and watering to prevent both build up of fungal diseases and loss of plants from over heating or water loss. Also adjusting heater thermostat on nights when unexpected drops in temperature occur to prevent frosting.

• ii) Attending to and catering for people on courses and retreats, many of whom stay on site, checking fires are properly managed and needs for the night are met, and responding to emergencies means we need to be on site.

• We need to protect the gardens should sheep escape from their electric fencing. We have saved ourselves a lot of damage by being here.

Land has demonstrably been intensively developed over the past 6 years- evidence is everywhere - from beds - to greenhouse and polytunnel - to orchards - to hedging - to ponds and wildlife management etc.

Nothing has been sold in fact more land has been given over to us to manage and so improve the viability of the business.

6. The protection of livestock from theft or injury by intruders may contribute on animal welfare grounds to the need for a new agricultural dwelling, although it will not by itself be sufficient to justify one. Requirements arising from food processing, as opposed to agriculture, cannot be used to justify an agricultural dwelling. Nor can agricultural needs justify the provision of isolated new dwellings as retirement homes for farmers.

7. If a functional requirement is established, it will then be necessary to consider the number of workers needed to meet it, for which the scale and nature of the enterprise will be relevant

8. New permanent accommodation cannot be justified on agricultural grounds unless the farming enterprise is economically viable. A financial testis necessary for this purpose, and to provide evidence of the size of dwelling which the unit can sustain. In applying this test (see paragraph 3(iii) above), authorities should take a realistic approach to the level of profitability, taking account of the nature of the enterprise concerned. Some enterprises which aim to operate broadly on a subsistence basis, but which nonetheless provide wider benefits (e.g. in managing attractive landscapes or wildlife habitats), can be sustained on relatively low financial returns.

9. Agricultural dwellings should be of a size commensurate with the established functional requirement. Dwellings that are unusually large in relation to the agricultural needs of the unit, or unusually expensive to construct in relation to the income it can sustain in the long-term, should not be permitted. It is the requirements of the enterprise, rather than those of the owner or occupier, that are relevant in determining the size of dwelling that is appropriate to a particular holding.

10. Local planning authorities may wish to consider making planning permissions subject to conditions removing some of the permitted development rights under part 1 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 for development within the curtilage of a dwelling house. For example, proposed extensions could result in a dwelling whose size exceeded what could be justified by the functional requirement, and affect the continued viability of maintaining the property for its intended use, given the income that the agricultural unit can sustain. However, it will always be preferable for such conditions to restrict the use of specific permitted development rights rather than to be drafted in terms which withdraw all those in a Class (see paragraphs 86-90 of the Annex to DOE Circular 11/95).

11. Agricultural dwellings should be sited so as to meet the identified functional need and to be well-related to existing farm buildings, or other dwellings.


We borrow sheep for grazing at present and soon intend to have our own, we also intend to have chickens and geese.



The two of us are fully busy here with all the tasks and we are asking for a dwelling designed to provide compact accommodation for two people with some space for guests - our grown up children - to stay.

The enterprise is economically viable see business plan and accounts. We do operate on a subsistence basis in relation to growing our own food and harvesting our own renewable energy. which means we need less to live on than most people. The courses and personal development sessions provide a modest income above subsistence, which means we can afford to invest in the business to further its success. See accounts and business plan.


The dwelling we are proposing is small -

10.7 x 4m area and 3.6 m high. It will be constructed in an economical way of relatively inexpensive locally sourced timber and insulation material, incorporating new but reject double glazing units which we have collected, and certainly will be within our budget to build and maintain whilst still being attractive and innovative. see plan details

We would agree to any necessary conditions.







The dwelling is situated within the area of the businesses buildings and polytunnel.

Temporary agricultural dwellings

12. If a new dwelling is essential to support a new farming activity, whether on a newly-created agricultural unit or an established one, it should normally, for the first three years, be provided by a caravan, a wooden structure which can be easily dismantled, or other temporary accommodation. It should satisfy the following criteria:

(i) clear evidence of a firm intention and ability to develop the enterprise concerned (significant investment in new farm buildings is often a good indication of intentions);

(ii) functional need (see paragraph 4 of this Annex);

(iii) clear evidence that the proposed enterprise has been planned on a sound financial basis;

(iv) the functional need could not be fulfilled by another existing dwelling on the unit, or any other existing accommodation in the area which is suitable and available for occupation by the workers concerned; and

(v) other normal planning requirements, e.g. on siting and access, are satisfied.

13. not applicable at this stage

14. not applicable

Other occupational dwellings

15. There may also be instances where special justification exists for new isolated dwellings associated with other rural based enterprises. In these cases, the enterprise itself, including any development necessary for the operation of the enterprise, must be acceptable in planning terms and permitted in that rural location, regardless of the consideration of any proposed associated dwelling. Local planning authorities should apply the same stringent levels of assessment to applications for such new occupational dwellings as they apply to applications for agricultural and forestry workers’ dwellings. They should therefore apply the same criteria and principles in paragraphs 3-13 of this Annex, in a manner and to the extent that they are relevant to the nature of the enterprise concerned.


We have been established for over 6 years now and so are hoping for permanent permission for a dwelling of Temporary construction, thus if Mendip decided that a further test of time were needed the same building, being easily dismantled would work for either option.

i) Our 6 years of concerted hard work and the construction of the all year round greenhouse fulfil this criteria. See list of capital assets and investments.

ii) As regards the need to live here see para 4 above and Supporting statement that shows the case in detail.

iii) see business management plan and accounts

iv) Though we could arguably continue to dwell in the converted stable that would mean:

a) The business could not expand to becoming all year round - ie offering enough indoor accommodation to run courses from December to March. And-

b) We need to have our house separate from the visitors: At present we put up with the lack of privacy when groups are here for the sake of the work we do but it is stressful.

There is no affordable accommodation in the area to rent or buy.

v) see relevant sections

The nature of our business is partly horticultural, partly educational, partly therapeutic and partly providing leisure opportunities in the countryside. It is also run in a sustainable way with special consideration given to enhancing bio-diversity and the ecology as a whole. We make careful use of natural resources and use renewable energy resources.

We have discussed paras 3 - 13 above.

In our opinion all of the above shows our business fulfils the necessary stringent criteria for being made an exception whilst not creating a precedent.

Occupancy conditions

16. Where the need to provide accommodation to enable farm, forestry or other workers to live at or near their place of work has been accepted as providing the special justification required for new, isolated residential development in the countryside, it will be necessary to ensure that the dwellings are kept available for meeting this need for as long as it exists. For this purpose planning permission should be made subject to appropriate occupancy conditions. DOE Circular 11/95 gives further advice and provides model occupancy conditions for agricultural dwellings and for other staff accommodation.

17. not applicable in this case


18. Planning authorities should be able to determine most applications for occupational dwellings in the countryside, including cases involving the imposition or removal of occupancy conditions, on the basis of their experience and the information provided by the applicant and any other interested parties. If this is not the case, agricultural or other consultants may be able to give a technical appraisal. This should be confined to a factual statement of the agricultural, or other business considerations involved and an evaluation of the specific points on which advice is sought; no recommendation for or against the application should be made.



We understand this and are more than happy to comply







We are willing to find an appropriate consultant if the planning authority finds this advisable.

Back to top

Back to planning application home

About my Work

Program of events

Individual & couples sessions

About  Andy Portman



CD's for sale

About Avalon Permaculture Gardens

Pictures of Avalon Permaculture Gardens




Contact me

About our Self Build Eco House