Small Woodland Owners' Group

Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

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Re: Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

Postby oldclaypaws » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:30 pm

Were you thinking of a building from Brookridge


Yes. They seem reasonably priced with versatile designs to suit each individuals needs. I did ring them to ask if they'd be interested in some sort of oak part-ex deal, but they only buy it (French) as required from the importers down the road. :(

Alternatively, I've a contact for a one man band who can do the same but without the VAT. If either produce numbers that seem steep, there's always the possibility of self build- I'm not short of oak !

I've submitted an initial approach to the planners outlining the nature of the wood, my plans and the need for a building, and invited their pre-application comments to see if they agree in principle. I hope for 'sounds fine, carry on'. Will let all know how it goes and if smoothly, will show the comments I drafted which might assist others.
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Re: Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

Postby Wendelspanswick » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:04 pm

Lupin Pooter wrote:Really interested to hear your different approaches to PN. I'm guessing that you have both dealt with the planners at TDBC. We are intending to apply to them for approval to build a modest store/shelter this year. Any advice or contact names would be gratefully received!

Our application was with WSDC but they are now in the process of amalgamating with TDBC.
PM me if you want any advice and good luck.
I am just completing the ground works for my building at the moment, its going to be a modern steel portal framed building clad in steel box profile (for security) which in turn will be clad in timber to help it blend in to the countryside.
I hope to start welding up the portal frames next month but I am struggling with this damn cough that's going about!
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Re: Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

Postby Wendelspanswick » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:09 pm

I have always had good dealings with Brookridge, they have always been very competitive on their timber pricing, even when compared to Mole Valley Farmers.
There is a guy who has a stand at the Junction 24 market on a Saturday morning who does timber framed buildings, I am not sure if that could be Brookridge timber buildings or someone else.
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Re: Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

Postby Rankinswood » Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:14 am

Hi,

My local authority is South Oxfordshire District Council ( whose officies were recently burnt to the ground ) and so yesterday I downloaded a prior notification form from their website but am a little confused by same since I note in section 5 of the form ( Q3115Form016_england_en.pdf ) that this section is headed "Agricultural and Forestry Developments" however the various questions posed only make reference to agriculture with no further reference made to forestry and so should I ignore this section or do I assume that Forestry = Agriculture and complete this section ? There is also some confusion in my mind as to whether or not forestry is to be classed as commercial ?

Is there a fee to pay for prior noticication ?

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Re: Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

Postby Wendelspanswick » Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:04 am

From memory the fee is either £60 or £80 which is refunded if its rejected.
I think the form is the same whether for forestry or agriculture but you don't have the minimum holding size requirement to meet if its a forestry application.
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Re: Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

Postby Wendelspanswick » Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:10 am

Part of the requirement for the building is 'that it is reasonably necessary for the purpose of either forestry or agriculture', in my opinion saying you are using for woodland for commercial interests adds impetus to your application.
If you sell any logs etc. you can call yourself a commercial enterprise, you don't have to sell vast amounts.
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Re: Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

Postby oldclaypaws » Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:36 pm

I think you need to differentiate there between 'commercial forestry purposes' and 'other commercial purposes using a supposed forestry shed'. Planners will not be at all sympathetic on anything which tries to use permitted agricultural / forestry planning regs to get a building that morphs into being used for other purposes, even if it involves the timber or wood as part of a later process. We've had a couple of posts including the original query where people still don't seem to have twigged that.
a place that we can craft artisan woodland products on site
The agricultural planning is meant to facilitate managing the wood, not having non-forestry activities in a shed there. Turning the wood into end product is manufacturing, not forestry. You can store kit there that you need to fell, cut and shift the trees, but not be entitled to build a picture framing business, walking stick factory, wood-fuelled pizza restaurant, wooden boat yard, oak flooring or fence panel business. Those can all be done away from the wood, while it might be convenient and cost effective to you, its not essential to have the building in the wood to carry out those activities. Commercial buildings for non forestry uses might actually be permitted, but you'll be hit with rates and it'll need an application for a workshop, factory, retail area or whatever you want to call it and it will be seen as a change in use of the area from agriculture to another purpose.

I'm not saying I agree with that rigid interpretation, that's just what you're going to get from the planners. Farm shops for example, are usually permitted on farms, but won't be built or come under agricultural planning, it'll be a retail building and it'll have its own hoops to jump through such as hygiene, disabled access, fire escapes, traffic impact, etc. If done in a former barn it'll come as change of use from agricultural barn to commercial retail premises.

I'm hoping the storage of timber under cover while it seasons is seen as part of 'forestry' in the same way as storing grain or milk on a farm until it's collected is an inert part of the agricultural process rather than hands on commercial activity. Curious that letting the weather dry something is in reality adding value, even though no human activity is involved :? I think this is a grey area and await clarification from the planners that timber storage is deemed OK as storage of a 'raw' agricultural product. I'm a bit stuffed or will have to work round it if its not.

This legislation may restrict us but it also protects us from adjacent wood owners suddenly turning their wood into a theme park, dump, car breakers or fracking site.
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Re: Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

Postby paulolding » Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:07 pm

Dear All

What a wonderfully in depth and insightful discussion.

Since I instigated the forum post, I thought I would bring you all up to speed. My application for prior notification for permitted development for my forestry shed was refused because the planning officer did not feel the shed was 'reasonably necessary for the purposes of forestry'. However, I had not submitted as part of my original application any additional information (which I later found out was required to underpin my application and provide justification), as I was under the impression that for prior notification it was all meant to be streamlined and simplified and straight forward. How wrong I was. Also, I was not then given opportunity to explain to the planning officer what I intended to use my shed for. And once he had refused it, the application was dead.

I would say that if you are considering submitting for prior notification for permitted development, you need to give the planning office a whole heap of justification essentially proving the 'forestry' need for your shed, justifying its size and its location. Also, the planning office does not have any guiding definition of forestry - so what you think is forestry may not be what they think is forestry - plus there is (at least with my planning office) a direct dictat to preserve ancient woodland at all costs. I would also make use of any pre submission planning meetings your office has on offer (which they charge for) because at least then you can find out what you need to submit by way of justification information - I asked endlessly of the 'duty planning officer' on the phone, but got no notion of what additional information was needed prior to submitting my forms, and by the time I got given my actual planning officer, he had already made up his mind. The notion of 'permitted development in my limited experience is complete nonsense. At least where I am, you effectively need to fill out practically a whole planning application for the planning office to consider whether you submission does indeed fall within permitted development.

So, my way forward now is to employ a highly experience planning agent who (for quite a large fee) is going to do it all for me (it also helps that he used to be on the plannign committee), because to tell you the truth, life is too short for this amount of hassle, when all I want to do is enjoy my wood, engage in a forestry commission authorized management plan and create some salable wood products.

Good luck
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Re: Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

Postby Wendelspanswick » Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:19 pm

Found the following which might be of interest:


Agricultural buildings - the 'reasonably necessary' test under Part 6 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 March 2013 11:37
There are potential pitfalls for local planning authorities when it comes to agricultural buildings and the 'reasonably necessary' test under Part 6, writes Martin Goodall.
Everyone is familiar with the prior notification procedure under Part 6 (Class A) of the Second Schedule to the General Permitted Development Order (erection of a building and other operational development on an agricultural unit of 5 ha or more), but it should not be forgotten that, in order to qualify as permitted development under this part of the GPDO, the building in question must also be “reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture within that unit”.
The question as to whether or not a particular building is reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture is not one for determination by the local planning authority; it is purely a matter of fact and degree – either the test is met or it is not. It is an entirely objective test. However, existing government guidance (in the still extant Annex E to the old PPG7) does encourage LPAs to state their opinion if they believe that the building in respect of which they have received prior notification is not reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture.
The important point to be borne in mind is that any such opinion has no binding effect. The mere statement of such an opinion cannot in itself disqualify development from being permitted development within Part 6 (Class A). On the other hand, there will clearly be an onus on the developer, if their right to erect the building as permitted development is challenged, to prove on the balance of probability that the objective test of reasonable necessity is in fact met.
An LPA may easily fall into a trap if it forms the opinion that the building is not reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture and then (as a result of that) fails to respond to the application it has received within the mandatory 28-day period. If the LPA is objectively correct in its view that the building does not meet the qualifying criterion, then it is not under an obligation to respond to the prior notification application within 28 days or at all. However, if it turns out that the LPA was wrong about the test of reasonable necessity, then a failure to respond to the notice within the 28-day time limit will allow the developer to proceed with the erection of the building without any further input from the LPA, and in particular without obtaining the LPA’s approval of its siting or design.
One point which is abundantly clear is that a building will not qualify under Part 6 (Class A) if the agricultural activity has not yet started or is being conducted purely or mainly as a hobby. Paragraph D.1 in Part 6 of the GPDO clearly states that, for the purposes of Part 6, “agricultural land” means land which, before development permitted by this part is carried out, is land in use for agriculture for the purpose of a trade or business (i.e. there must be an existing agricultural use and this must be a business, not a hobby). So a building cannot be erected as permitted development under Part 6 where the agricultural enterprise has not yet started, and it cannot be erected if the agricultural activity amounts to no more than ‘hobby farming’.
Thus the ‘chicken and the egg’ question can be easily answered in relation to this particular issue – the ‘chicken’ (the agricultural enterprise, conducted on a commercial basis) must come first. Only then can the ‘egg’ (a new agricultural building or buildings) follow, and only if the ‘reasonably necessary’ test is met, as well as the other criteria laid down in Class A of Part 6.
The need to meet the objective test of reasonable need for the building does not necessarily imply a requirement to prove that the agricultural unit is commercially viable. However, the issue of the viability of the agricultural unit cannot be entirely ignored, because if there is no viable agricultural business being carried on, then there may be some doubt as to whether the site falls within the definition of “agricultural land” at all, as explained above, and it might reasonably be argued that it shows that the building in question is not reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture. This is not to say that it is essential to be able to demonstrate the commercial viability of the agricultural enterprise, but if the agricultural enterprise is not (currently) viable, it may in those circumstances be difficult to show on an objective basis that the building is reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture within that unit.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to lay down any hard and fast rule in relation to these points. All I can say is that the developer does need (if challenged) to be able to demonstrate on the balance of probability that the objective test as to the building’s being reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture within that unit was met at the time when it was erected.
The commercial viability of the agricultural unit may well be a factor in relation to this question, although viability might not be the determinative factor in the circumstances of a particular case. I suggest, for instance, that whereas the test formerly proposed by the now withdrawn Annex A to PPS7 (in relation to demonstrating a need for a new agricultural dwelling) insisted on existing viability being proved by at least three years’ accounts, the ‘reasonably necessary’ test for other agricultural buildings does not appear to require such a stringent criterion to be applied. Future or potential viability might suffice to satisfy the test, so long as it can be shown that there is a reasonable basis for anticipating this, sufficient at least to demonstrate on the balance of probability that the proposed agricultural building can properly be said to be reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture within that unit.
Martin Goodall is a specialist planning lawyer who is a member of the Law Society's planning panel. He is a consultant solicitor with Keystone Law of 53, Davies Street, London W1K 5JH. His regular planning blog can be found here.
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Re: Planning Permission for a shed within small woodland

Postby oldclaypaws » Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:14 pm

I think I need a lie down and a paracetemol after reading that, but take the points and its very useful. Thanks WendelP.

I wish paulolding well with his application, but to play Devil's advocate I don't think his pitch is strong or convincing, particulalrly as you face the extra scrutiny that comes with an AONB location. Traditional coppicing doesn't essentially require a shed for tools, all you need is maybe a chainsaw, handsaw and a maybe a few lengths of rope. I've been restoring my own Hazel coppice for the last three years and have been easily able to bring all the tools I need in a car, it hasn't needed a building so far. There is no entitlement to a workshop, but you've mentioned at least twice wanting a place were you can make artisan craft products. The planners can argue that that sounds like a hobby craft activity that you could do at home, there's neither the need nor entitlement to a building to do it. (not my opinion, just what they'll say). I'd respectfully suggest you can still coppice your wood and made artisan products whether you have a shed there or not, lack of shed won't put a halt to your plan.

My request is for somewhere where I can keep some pretty big bulky bits of major forestry kit that couldn't be brought to the site each day, to support a full time business that should yield a substantial six figure revenue, as well as being an ecologically worthwhile restoration project. There is no question that several hundred cubic metres of prime standing mature oak is sellable, bulky, and needs more than hand tools to shift and cut. The trees are huge and need serious kit to convert to timber, so I've cited the need to house a tractor, log arch, 5m length sawmill and several tons of cut timber at any one time. I've also said the oak needs to be cut in situ and stored on site rather than dragging it off site as the latter is both impractical due to the size of the trees, makes less commercial sense and the extraction of 50ftx 3ft butts would cause damage to the sensitive ecology.

I don't know how this'll go, but I personally feel I've made a very strong and sound genuine pitch which is hard to argue against and which I'll be prepared to take to appeal if necessary as there's a lot at stake; my future employment for one, let alone the restoration of a dark crowded wood desperate for thinning and replanting- a plan which the council had advocated but never got round to when they owned it.
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