New Extensive Beef Unit in Surrey

New Extensive Beef Unit in Surrey

Prism Agriculture Ltd (PA) has been successful as part of an extensive team of consultants working on behalf of a client to gain Approval with a Full Planning Application for a series of Agricultural Buildings on a 145 Ha (358 ac) estate within the Green Belt and the Surrey Hills AONB.

The client had instructed a rural consultant in 2015 to prepare a supporting statement for a series of Prior Approval applications for new agricultural buildings, cattle sheds and slurry lagoons at the holding, those proposals submitted, had negatively gained the attention of Compassion in World Farming and campaigns by animal rights activists. A solution and strategy were required.

PA was contacted by the client in April 2016 to appraise the whole estate, which was originally part of a dairy unit some 30 years ago, but had been fragmented at that time into different ownership, and the traditional farmstead buildings had been converted to residential. The client owned most of the agricultural grazing land, woodland and residential dwellings but had no agricultural buildings in which to support a viable agricultural enterprise. A derelict farm was outside of their ownership.

The client had sought Prior Approval, for building what was effectively a whole new farm in the green belt and the Surrey Hills AONB, this was not suitable, and a Full Planning Application was required with a concise Agricultural Justification Statement and Business Plan to support the actual requirements of the client.

PA proposed a new dual herd extensively grazed suckler beef unit as part of a sustainable and vertically integrated supply chain, to supply locally-produced native breed beef to the client’s hotel portfolio around Surrey and the South Downs National Park. PA proposed to run two herds on the holding: Native Longhorns and Hereford Cattle.

Some 40 years ago, the siting footprint of the proposed farm buildings did not exist, during research, it was found that the mound of earth, was in fact in-fill deposited by a waterworks company. PA suggested digging it out to a depth of 6 metres, using the spoil as bunding and effectively building the new farm in the hole. This attention to detail, alongside an extensive business plan proposal and a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment to carefully balance landscape and agricultural considerations with the sensitive Surrey Hills AONB is how PA achieved success at Planning Committee.

The agricultural development proposed by Prism Agriculture included two cattle sheds, two silage clamps with underground run off tanks, cattle handling facilities and an isolation unit, two bull pens, an FYM storage area with run off tank and an L-shaped machinery building and straw/feed store.

PA’s proposal included enhancing the biodiversity and ecology on the estate including rainwater harvesting, owl boxes, bat boxes, insect rich cover crops, wild bird seed and flower mixes and the planting of companion crops for the resident wild deer.

Drawing Credit: ‘Inside Out’ Architectural Consultants Ltd