Forestry Buildings and Permitted Development Rights

Having recently submitted a prior notification for a forestry building in the Wyre Forest District, it has got us at Eldnar questioning why more people do not look to benefit from the permitted development rights available under Class E, Part 6, Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. Whilst it is clear that not everyone benefits from owning or occupying land that has woodland, those who do should pay particular attention to their permitted development rights available to them for the construction of buildings related to the forestry if they require an external building for forestry purposes.

We are all aware that agricultural holdings benefit from the ability to create up to 1000 sq.m. of building for agricultural purposes but there are a number of parameters that must be met in order for the holding to qualify for such rights. However, the number of parameters that apply to permitted development for forestry buildings are fewer, meaning there is potential for more flexibility. The key points of Class E is that so long as:

  • ┬áthe building is of a proportionate size
  • Is reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture
  • Is more than 25m away from an adopted highway
  • Is under 3m in height if within 3km of an aerodrome

Then prior approval under permitted development should be obtainable.

When comparing this to the permitted development rights on an agricultural holding, the holding/property must:

  • Be a minimum of 5 hectares in size
  • Be no larger than 1000m2
  • Must be no taller than 3m in height if within 3km of an aerodrome or 12m in height anywhere else
  • Must be reasonably necessary for the agricultural operations on the holding

What agricultural buildings under permitted development also do (which forestry do not) is remove the permitted development rights across the rest of the buildings on the holding for 10 years. Key here is the removal of Class Q permitted development rights.

As with a majority of permitted development rights, where the site falls within a sensitive area such as a European wildlife designation or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) the permitted development rights are removed for forestry buildings and thus a full application would be required.

The key difference of a forestry building is that the size is to be proportionate and there is no defined minimum size of woodland that had to be held in the holding to qualify. This is very open to interpretation. I have therefore found an example of what size might be deemed appropriate in an appeal decision. The inspector deemed reasonable a 97m2 building for 1.1 hectares of woodland. This demonstrates that a reasonably large building can be deemed as appropriate for smaller areas of woodland. Albeit each case is assessed on its own merits.

So to summarise, if you own an area of woodland and you require a building to assist with the management of it, there are relatively lenient permitted development rights that will allow you to create what you require. As always, it is worth consulting a professional who can assist in applying for a certificate of lawfulness if you are at all unsure. Please do get in touch or book a 15 minute mini-chat through the website if you have any queries.