I was recently very pleased to be able to achieve a Planning Approval for a client in West Northumberland for a New Build, Rural Workers Dwelling. The proposed site was not only in open countryside, but also sat within the Green Belt, which made gaining an approval all the more challenging.
The NPPF Paragraph 55, reads as follow; ‘To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities. For example, where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby. Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances such as:

● the essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside

This paragraph gives you the ability to gain an approval for a new dwelling in the countryside for a Rural Worker. However, this does not provide a licence to build whatever or wherever we like. A set of requirements will need to be met as follows:

Need – This is the most critical box that will need to be ticked. Establishing a need for a new dwelling to house a Rural Worker that cannot be housed in a settlement nearby their place of work. In this case, the application was for a farmworker. The worker needed to be on site 24/7 to look after the welfare of rare breed cattle. Each case will need to be established and considered on its own merits and a report provided which supports the sustainability of the business and the need for a permanent worker based on various criteria.

Scale – The dwelling will have to be of a scale that can be managed and maintained by a rural worker on a rural worker’s salary. Therefore, the dwelling will likely be somewhere in the region of 110 – 140 sq m.

Form and Setting – The scale, mass and architectural style of the building will have to have a connection with the landscape it is intended to sit in. This does not mean it has to be a pastiche of a traditional country cottage and does allow for a contemporary design, perhaps using a traditional palette of materials in a contemporary form. Maintaining the openness of the Greenbelt and countryside will be a priority. It will be expected that the new dwelling will be sited within, or as near as possible to, the existing farm steading or rural business.

If the three main requirements set out above can be established and justified, it is quite likely that an approval could be achieved. Should you have need for a Rural Workers Dwelling, and you may work in Agriculture, Forestry or Tourism and can justify a need, then please get in touch and I would be delighted to assist you with your project.


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