Apart from the two main options for getting planning permission on non development land in the UK, there are a few other options for residents of Scotland and Wales, respectively.
Non Development Land in Scotland
In the crofting counties of Scotland there is a long tradition of crofting, which is a kind of smallholding. Today, crofts for rent are very difficult to find and those for sale are just as highly priced as other housing land. In reaction to this, the Scottish Parliament has made it possible to create new crofts by buying land and applying to the Crofter’s Commission to have it crofted. The main benefit of this is that the planning permission is usually granted for one house on a working croft.
As this legislation is still quite fresh, it isn’t completely clear how it will work in practical terms, and as the Crofter’s Commission must still consult the planning office it is possible that permission will not be granted. Therefore it is best to discuss plans with the local planning office before buying any land.
In 1994 a policy called ‘lowland crofting’ was introduced in West Lothian in order to encourage regeneration of a rural area west of Edinburgh. The policy allows farmers with holdings of at least 100 acres to increase income by creating crofts on their land. Lowland crofts are not subject to typical crofting law and are aimed more towards hobby farmers and horse enthusiasts. A farmer must submit a plan for the entire farm, including planting of woodland, biodiversity preservation, and infrastructure for the new houses. If granted, croft plots can be sold on the open market or developed with housing first.
Non Development Land in Wales: Pembrokeshire
Due to a prolonged lobbying by ‘The Land is Ours’, otherwise known as Chapter 7, the development of ‘low impact dwellings’ in the countryside is now legal on what was non development land. Policy 52, adopted by Pembrokeshire National Park Authority in May 2006 and by Pembrokeshire Council in June of the same year, ‘provides a context for permitting development in the countryside as an exception to normal planning policy’.
A detailed management plan must be submitted to the planners and an Annual Monitoring report needs to be made to record the progress made toward achieving the plan’s targets. The policy has eight criteria attached, and these must be met by prospective developments.
One Planet Development
In July 2010, the Welsh Assembly Government issued guidelines entitled ‘Planning for Sustainable Rural Communities’. The guidelines include One Planet Development’ (OPD). This addressed the objective of the Welsh government to reduce the ecological footprint of every citizen of Wales from 4.41 to 1.88 global hectares.
The guidelines state that low impact developments can be located inside or adjacent to existing settlements or in open countryside. The guidelines are much shorter than Policy 52, but are similar.
Image: Jim Baintagslandnon development landplanning