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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 23344
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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A farmer recently purchased land opposite our home of about

Customer Question

A farmer recently purchased land opposite our home of about 17 acres, which included an agricultural shed. The shed had a special order on it that if the original owner could not make a living from the land in five years the shed would have to come down. The original owner could not achieve this (no-one can make a profit from sheep on just 17 acres!) and thus sold it to this farmer.We objected to the council when this farmer put in an application to retain the shed. The planning application was declined by the council - the farmer though submitted another application and after 18 months and via an S106 agreement was granted permission for the shed. The council stated the main reason for granting permission was that there were no ‘impacts on the local amenity’.Can you confirm what in planning law represents an ‘impact on the local amenity’? Would for example smells from the shed and access to and from the land be potential impacts that the council would check for? Also, is there a standard check list that all councils use to consider ‘impacts on the local amenity’ and if so where could we obtain this list?
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 9 days ago.
Hello,

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Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.

I have been asked to look at this for you.

Impact on the local amenity is literally what it says in plain English. You are correct that the smell from the shed (if there is indeed such a smell would be an impact and if there is excess traffic that would also be an impact but you have to consider what is excess because there is going to be much excess on 17 acres.

The problem for you is that once planning consent has been granted it is impossible to overturn it except that you can make an application for judicial review which won’t necessarily change the decision it would just make the local authority revisit the grounds on which the decision was made.

There is a validation checklist in respect of all applications and this is one which I happen to come across from one particular council.

https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/NorthumberlandCountyCouncil/media/Planning-and-Building/Validation-Checklist-August-2017-22-6.pdf

I wouldn’t worry about the geography.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Thank you for your reply. I have checked the link you gave, which suggests smells and access are considered as ‘impacts on the local amenity’, but does not go into any detail. Surely all councils have a standard check list for this so they can show they have checked all possible impacts. Do councils have to provide this list when asked assuming it exists in the first place? If it does not exist the surely this is serious fault within councils planning procedures as there will obviously be no consistency across the country.I also asked a previous question regarding a S106 Agreement, but no-one could be found to answer it. As this is your field of expertise could you look at it - see below:A farmer has tied 90 acres of his main farmstead (2 miles away) to a 17 acre parcel of land (opposite our home) to allow him to retain an agricultural shed/barn (just 50m from our home) via a S106 agreement because normal planning rules would otherwise not allow the retention of the shed. If he decided to sell or lease the 17 acres he would have to sell or lease the specific 90 acres from his main farm to do so. Can he though still bring large vehicles and livestock from his main farmyard (not part of 90 acres tied via S106), as this is effectively tying this 17 acres and shed to all of his farm (380 acres) for farming purposes? Is an S106 normally this flexible for the farmer?Also, the farmer used a justification for the retention of the shed that was due to the separating the yearling heifers from the bulls (even though he had manage very well for 30 plus years with his current set up), - can he just over a year decide to just use the shed for storing farm vehicles and use the land for silage - no livestock? If yes, hasn’t he lied with his justification to secure the shed with full planning permission?The same farmer is allowing another person to use the land for their sheep possibly as a favour (no contract to lease) or may be cash in hand to avoid breaking the S106 agreement. If there is no official agreement and the other tied 90 acres still being used by the Farmer is this breach of the S106 and the council should take action?During the planning application the council stated they had considered the impact on the local amenity and was happy there were none. Does the council have to consider the access to the land/shed i.e. if the gateway is very tight and the large vehicles used in farming could (and have already) have to run over a neighbouring property to enter / exit, is this classed as an impact on the local amenity? Also, does the council have a list of potential impacts to the local amenity they have to check and if so is this available to the general public so we can see if there are any other impacts the council may have overlooked or ignored?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 days ago.

These kind of terms are deliberately vague because it means that the council can interpret it as they wish.

Many documents containing the word “reasonable” and the same thing applies.

It depends on the circumstances.

The council may have a checklist but it’s not for public consumption. You would need to speak to a planning consultant to get more information on that. Never a bad idea.

I know little about 106 agreements. Not a lot!

What is the condition of the 106 agreement? That the 17 acres is linked with the 90 acres? In what way? I would need more details of the 106 agreement please.

However looking at the final paragraph it does indeed appear that he has lied. If he is now using something different, then it’s back to the planning department because it’s change of use and the enforcement period is 10 years. From experience, farmers think they can do what they like until they are told otherwise. And they do do what they like.