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Gloucestershire Business News

EXCLUSIVE: Farm makes planning plea for change of use

A Cotswold farm building converted for business use without planning permission could have to revert to pure agricultural use if planners refuse a bid to set the paperwork in order. 

Rural valuers, David James, based in Wotton-under-Edge, are requesting retrospective permission from Stroud District Council on behalf of Mr R Winter of Woodford, near Berkeley, for work on part of a large barn at Stinchcombe's Blanchworth Lodge Farm.

The address at Road Green is accessed from a lane between the A38 and North Nibley and is adjacent to the former offices of Blanchworth Care Homes Ltd.

A Design and Access statement indicates that the building proposed for change to Class E use is accessed from a concrete yard that adjoins the lane - and was originally the location for a farm office, as well as storage.

The statement said: "The office was underused and the Applicant has sought to obtain additional income from diversification by renting to a third party. A small amount of the adjacent is used as storage area."

Due to changes in economic support for farms, the agent said the business had identified a potential income loss and sought to head it off by inviting a business connected to farming to step in and rent the site.

The report said: "With the recent expansion of Thornbury, Berkeley and Dursley there is an identified a local need for small business units for domestic and home-based businesses. The buildings are well located with regarded to these towns, A38 and M5 to enable this."

David James added: "The building has been occupied since late September 2023 by an engineer who supplies agricultural machinery spares to farmers throughout the south west. It is therefore beneficial to the rural economy."

No ecological impact was claimed to be arising from the 200 sqm proposal, the agent indicated.

A survey from Farmers Weekly magazine released last week showed that the agricultural community's perception of Brexit was leaving farmers "counting the cost".

The report said that more red tape, a toughening economic situation, damaging free-trade deals and "a trail of broken promises" characterised farmers' experiences seven years on from the vote to leave.

Some 70% of farmers consulted who grow cereals said Brexit had dented their incomes, while 76% of oilseed rape growers agreed.

The survey also found that 68% of farmers with beef cattle and dairy cows, as well as sheep, held negative views over the UK's decision to go it alone.

Dissatisfaction levels peaked even further among pig farmers (79%) and were worst among farms cultivating vegetables (81%).

● Analysis of UK agricultural trends at Statista shows that as of January 2021, several political and economic consequences arose. Statista said: Contrary to historic growth, the total income in the UK from farming decreased in 2015-2016, when Brexit was first announced, and again in 2020, when Brexit occurred.

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