Policy J/RE: Supporting the rural economy

DRAFT version for various committee meetings.

We are currently testing our new digital plan platform - please provide us your feedback

What will this policy do?

This policy will set out the approach to re-use and replacement of rural buildings, and proposals related to land-based enterprises.

Proposed policy direction

Support proposals for diversification schemes which enable continued operation of agricultural and other land based rural businesses particularly where they are engaged in sustainable land management or renewable / low carbon energy, where they are appropriate in scale to their location and, where possible, reuse existing buildings.

Support the re-use of rural buildings in the countryside for employment purposes, where they are of permanent and substantial construction and in keeping with their surroundings. Allow the replacement of such buildings where it would bring about environmental improvement and a more sustainable development.

Why is this policy needed?

It is important that the plan restricts the scale of development in the countryside where large scale development would be unsustainable. Rural buildings, such as farm buildings no longer needed for agriculture, provide opportunities for conversion for employment uses in the district, and provide a way of supporting the rural economy and making best use of an existing resource.

The plan also needs to support land-based businesses and farms to continue to thrive. To do this many have diversified into other business areas. They also need to continue to adapt to respond to climate change and to new Government funding schemes.  It is important that diversification proposals are well founded in terms of effectively contributing to the agricultural business and the rural economy and integrating new activities into the environment and the rural scene.

What consultation have we done on this issue?

Diversification and the re-use of farm buildings were not addressed specifically in our First Conversation consultation. However, we did receive feedback that supported market gardening and farming, including to produce local food and reduce food miles.

What alternatives did we consider?

1. No policy – This is not the preferred approach, as not including a policy would not provide sufficient support land based businesses, or the re-use of buildings.

2. Greater flexibility for residential uses of rural buildings – This is not the preferred approach. Current policy requires buildings for be effectively marketed for employment first. Removing this preference would reduce the opportunities to support the rural economy and encourage residential development in the countryside where there is greater reliance on the private car to access everyday services.

Supporting evidence studies and topic papers

  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 6: Jobs

Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018

  • Policy E/17: Conversion or Replacement of Rural Buildings for Employment
  • Policy E/18: Farm Diversification

Cambridge Local Plan 2018 - None

Tell us what you think

Tell us what you think about this policy, by clicking on the comment point (purple speech bubble) to open the comment box and leave your feedback.