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Ask the Expert about Diversifying

18th September 2019

With food prices decreasing, the cost of farming increasing, the uncertainty regarding subsidies and the real impact of Brexit yet to be clear, farmers need to seriously look at new ways of making money. In considering diversification schemes, where do I start?

A. It is clear that the viability of traditional farming is becoming tighter each year, with no signs of getting better. All sorts of different diversification have occurred over the years, which has become successful, and their varying nature is totally dependent on the assets and constraints of your current farm.

However, one of the first and main considerations when thinking of a diversification project is planning permission.

National and Local Planning policies are there to promote farm diversification. However, the acceptability of the scheme is dependent on the type of diversification and the location of the project.

The more obvious diversification projects are holiday lets, either by converting a barn or setting up a glamping site. Although some people might feel these are becoming saturated, the key is to do something different from the competitors.

There is a balance that needs to be met when developing a glamping site, although the customer wants the best view, the planners want an inconspicuous site, and therefore the correct planning advice at the outset is key.

Other more diverse projects that are being looked at is:

  • Less traditional markets, such as alpacas, deer and fruit and vegetables
  • Farm shops and cafes
  • BMX or quad bike tracks
  • Wedding venues
  • Renewables

These projects are only viable and acceptable in certain locations, with the projects that mean additional traffic movements, requiring a good highway network and the less commercial, requiring the right land for the project and suitable areas to put up the buildings.

With the correct advice from the outset, landowners could turn an existing building or land into a considerable financial asset for their business, which will mean the more traditional methods can be subsidised by the new venture.

Initial planning advice on these projects are vital, therefore for help and advice on any planning enquiry contact Roger Parry & Partners. Contact Gerallt on: 01938 554499 or Email: