top of page

Obtaining Planning Permission In Rural Areas

Obtaining planning permission in rural areas can be a daunting process. With the correct knowledge, help and advice planning permission can be achieved, and you can be up and running with your new venture.

This blog sets out how planning can change in different areas and steps you might need to think about before you start work.


In general farms are controlled by the same planning guidelines as buildings in towns and cities, but rules on permitted development mean that some changes to farm buildings do not need planning permission.

You don't not need permission if:

· For farming operations

· To use buildings already on your land for farming purposes

· To change the inside of a building, or make small alterations to the outside - eg installing an alarm box

· If there are permitted development rights

Permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.

The rights are subject to conditions and limitations to control impact and to protect local amenity.

Change Of Use

Recently more and more rural property owners and farmers are considering the idea of rural diversification. However, such a move can require some investment and it can be a challenging, but if done correctly can be very worthwhile.

Recognising value at an early stage in a proposal means that there is an opportunity to avoid negative impacts and wherever possible, developments can also enhance the local community, area or significance which can work in your favour when getting permission from the local authority.

For example recent changes to planning law have made it easier to change the use of an agricultural building including to use as a dwelling house.

Listed Buildings

If your work requires changing or working on a Listed building, consent is nearly always required. However, under the system of Class Consents, some agricultural, horticultural and forestry works to scheduled ancient monuments do not require scheduled monument consent. For further understanding whether you need consent Historic England will be able to guide your through the do’s and don’ts.

National Parks and AONBs

In National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty permitted development rights are limited. You will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas. Before starting any work, it is always advisable to speak with your local planning office.


Believe it or not hedgerows can make a substantial contribution to the historic character of the land, but their removal does not usually need planning permission. Historic England’s Heritage Protection Guide outlines information on the Hedgerow Regulations which can offer them some protection. Again, before removing anything or hanging your landscape it is always best to seek out professional advice.

We Can Help

With just a few tips on informed thinking and investing in tried and tested methods, your project can be up and running in no time. RPS Design Group offer clients a comprehensive design and planning service from concept through to on site project management. We have expertise is in unlocking the countryside’s potential, designing viable projects that offer you the very best chance of a successful planning outcome and ultimately adding value to your land and property. We have an unrivaled level of experience and can manage your entire project, leaving you with time to consider your farm diversification goals, barn conversion, new rural building or whatever your rural construction project might be.

Please get in touch now and we would be more than happy to have a chat.

0845 5442005


Recent Posts

See All


  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon
bottom of page