Exemptions growing chickens BBC

Photo credits to John Fernandez at BBC Guernsey.

I recently wrote about the successful approval of the new Exemptions policy that was brought to the States of Deliberation by the Development and Planning Authority (D&PA), one of the two committees I sit on.

This policy extends the range and extent of development works by households, businesses, States departments, parishes and utilities that no longer need planning applications.

I am particularly pleased about a completely new set of Class 4 exemptions that enable more domestic and small-scale commercial growing and animal husbandry on agricultural land. Enabling and promoting local growing has been something I have championed from the beginning of my political term and which had featured in my election manifesto. I had realised that our land-use and planning policy was focused on enabling larger-scale commercial agriculture that will involve machinery such as tractors and was not supportive of placing any kind of structures on agricultural land.

In addition, there is a significant expansion of exempt development within the domestic curtilage of the houses including the erection of bigger sheds, greenhouses and polytunnels (Class 1 exemptions).

The interest in local growing has been on the rise in recent years, especially noticeable following the first lockdown in 2020. There was a marked increase in interest for domestic growing and animal husbandry such as getting chickens. The D&PA and planning officers were very supportive of this direction of travel, which resulted in the inclusion of these new exemptions.

Below is the exact list of exemptions to be drafted into legislation.

  • Class 4 exemptions p.49-51 – regarding development on agricultural land:
    • Two exemptions regarding fencing and farm gates are expanded
    • Three completely new exemptions have been added
      • 4.3 – Allowing structures containing animals – up to 4 under 1.2m in height. This is to promote animal husbandry, chicken coops.
      • 4.4 – Erection of polytunnels and temporary glasshouses – size under 10sqm and 2m in height.
      • 4.5 – Erection of other small structures like small sheds to host tools.
  • Class 1 – development within domestic curtilage
    • 1.12 – Erection of a shed – allow for bigger and higher sheds including within curtilage of protected buildings.
    • 1.13 – Erection of glasshouses – allow for bigger glasshouses including within curtilage of a protected building.
    • 1.38 – Placement of polytunnels up to 30 sqm including within curtilage of protected buildings.

The policy letter now needs to be drafted into an updated ordinance and hopefully, go to the States in 2022 for a final nod. Please do check the details of the exemptions ordinance once drafted for any exact restrictions on size, number and height of exempt development. Development of a bigger size will need planning permission.