A new information leaflet called ‘Planning Permission and Farm Diversification’ has been jointly launched today (Thursday 7th) by Environment Minister Edwin Poots and Agricultural Minister Michelle Gildernew.
The leaflet is to assist farmers who are planning to diversify their farm business under DARD’s Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.
Minister Poots said, “The process of applying for a farm diversification grant from DARD and planning permission from Planning Service can be complicated for farmers. This leaflet is aimed at making the planning process easier to understand and explains what type of planning permission is required, how to go about applying, the type of information required, examples of farm diversification schemes and Planning Service contacts. Given the current economic climate, this is a very positive initiative to help the farming community and the Northern Ireland economy.”
The leaflet also sets out the importance of having planning permission in place in order for DARD to release grant payment and to check whether the proposal is eligible for grant funding. It also provides contact details for DARD’s rural enterprise advisors (who give advice on farm diversification project ideas and business development) and Local Action Groups (who provide information on grant funding, eligibility and the grant application process). When applying for planning permission, applicants should submit a letter stating that they are applying for grant funding in order that their application is given priority.
Minister Gildernew welcomed the new information guide explaining that it had been produced by collaborative working between Planning Service and DARD Rural Development staff.
She added, “This is a good clear guide which has the information that farm families need when thinking about taking on a Diversification Project. It also sign posts those with potential diversification projects to officials and organisations who can help evaluate ideas and where possible move them forward. It will help those considering farm diversification projects to move more quickly from the ideas stage to investment.”