Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

Planning permission - battling with the system

I've not been blogging for a few weeks due to some kind of stuper brought on by the anxiety of dealing with the planning process.   We applied for planning permission for a couple of polytunnels, a big tank for rainwater capture, a barn and a few other bits, back in June.  The date for a decision should have been end of August but near the end of the process they suddenly asked for a business plan.  At the time I didnt have a formal document and did not understand why they needed one. It turns out that thier logic is as follows: as horticulture is a form of agriculture it might be ok to let me have some structures in a field as long as I can prove that my business is viable and really needs them.  I am not sure where they imaging I would put a hortucultural business, except in a field!  So the business plan is vital to that logic.

Unfortunately my first version of the plan was deemed not to be sufficiently detailed and robust, causing them to question the viability of the business. I think its actually pretty difficult to prove a new business will work so they are almost asking the impossible....and they are doing that based purely on a written document rather than a proper assessment process such as a bank would undertake when lending you money.

The latest is that I have resubmitted the business plan, with a more complete market asssessment and even with details of the planting schedule.  Now, we have to wait to see if they will accept this.

In the mean time, Mike and his digger have been trying to do whatever we can without planning permission. He has now completed the services trench (see left) all 200 meters of it, and connected up all the pipework for the water. This week when it rained the ground started to get very slippy so we really need to get the entrance and access track sorted out to allow any other deliveries we will require.