Farm Diversification and Planning Permission in Scotland: guidance

Guidance on farm diversification and planning permission.

A Guide to Farm Diversification and Planning Permission in Scotland

Popular Types of New Development Needing Planning Permission

Conversion of redundant farm buildings

Conversion of redundant farm buildings to uses other than agriculture, for example accommodation for let or private use, workshops, offices or sport and recreation facilities will require planning permission even if there are no structural alterations. Planning authorities will generally be more in favour of projects that use redundant buildings instead of developing new ones.



Bunkhouse, Perthshire

New houses

Planning permission is required for all new housing. Building new houses for sale on a farm may not be seen as diversification by your planning authority. Nevertheless, it is one way in which you may be able to realise part of the value of your land. The development plan should indicate where housing is possible. You can view the development plan and ask questions about it at your planning authority. Particular regard should be given to the siting and design of new housing in the countryside, and advice is contained in our Planning Advice Note 36. Many planning authorities will oppose new housing in the countryside unless it is needed in connection with agriculture, forestry or other established rural businesses. Other planning authorities, particularly those in remote rural areas, may be more supportive of new housing, especially proposals intended to meet local needs.



Restaurant and accomodation, Stirlingshire

Tourist accommodation

The use of farmhouses for 'Bed and Breakfast' accommodation will only need planning permission if the main use of the house is no longer as a family dwelling. Development of self-catering accommodation, hostels, bunkhouses or chalets will usually require planning permission.

Visitor facilities



Horse trials, Midlothian

Fishing ponds, Aberdeenshire

Tearooms, restaurants, riding schools, pony-trekking centres, off-road driving centres and war game centres are likely to require planning permission. Diversifying into providing small scale educational facilities, such as demonstrating farm jobs or providing facilities for bird and wildlife watching are less likely to require consent. The main considerations in assessing any visitor facilities will be the size and design of buildings, the amount of traffic generated, the standard of the road access and exits from your farm, the design of the parking facilities and any other environmental impacts.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit

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