Redundant farm buildings – what next?



The use of farm buildings naturally changes over time and for many farms, the investment needed to keep old buildings in good order simply outweighs any financial return.

It is therefore important to look at a range of options before deciding what to do with your redundant farm buildings as well as the land around them, and come up with a realistic and achievable scheme to meet your goals.

Where a site is located may also dictate future use – whether for an ongoing commercial use or a residential conversion. How you approach the planning process is vital, so taking advice and developing the right strategy is key to unlocking success.

Permitted development rights will allow for the change of use of agricultural buildings to residential or commercial uses if certain criteria are met. Reaching planning consent however isn’t always straight forward and can be challenging on a site where an application has previously failed.

Our team have recently worked with David Bradley, a third-generation farmer running his East Kent top fruit, stone fruit and asparagus farm and like many in the rural sector he has looked at different ways of diversifying his business to provide a more sustainable future.

One of the sites David owned is Beacon Lane Farm which is situated on the outskirts of the village of Woodnesborough in East Kent. The site consisted of a redundant former agricultural and commercial yard comprising modern concrete and timber framed buildings. We worked with David to pin down a strategy that would find the right use for the site, weighing up the risk and potential returns to determine the most suitable approach to achieve planning permission and unlock the value of the site.

Detailed planning permission was granted for four residential dwellings under Planning Reference 19/01337 by Dover District Council after previous unsuccessful applications with another agent.

BTF has now marketed and sold the site on behalf of David which is ready for the purchaser to move onto, having provided advice on utilities and drainage easements, as well as advising throughout the sale process.

David Bradley comments: “It was frustrating to have the first planning application refused for the site. Working with BTF has been a positive experience as we have succeeded in securing permission with a revised application which is more suitable for the site and the location. BTF also marketed the site and I’m delighted with the outcome. This will provide additional revenue to help expand other areas of our business.

For more information or to discuss your farm building project, get in touch with either Harry Kenton or Edward Plumptre.