Aerial view of Crambe, North Yorkshire
Aerial view of Crambe, North Yorkshire © Historic England
Aerial view of Crambe, North Yorkshire © Historic England

Rural Planning

This page sets out how planning in the countryside differs from that in urban areas, and points to sources of further information.


Farms are generally controlled by the same planning rules as buildings in towns and cities, but rules on permitted development mean that some changes to farm buildings do not need planning permission.  

Farming operations - growing crops or raising livestock for instance - do not need planning permission. Government guidance on planning permission for farms sets out more detail.

National Parks and AONBs

In National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads permitted development rights are more limited, and if you live there, you will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas.

Listed buildings

Listed building consent is required for changes to rural listed buildings. However under the system of Class Consents, some agricultural, horticultural and forestry works to scheduled ancient monuments do not require scheduled monument consent.

Considering change

Local distinctiveness and a sense of place are important in shaping the identities of rural communities, and also underpin many tourism activities. The impact of change on historic character should be carefully considered when decisions on future development are being made.

Recognising and understanding heritage value or significance at an early stage in a proposal means that there is a opportunity to avoid or mitigate negative impacts and that wherever possible, developments can also enhance the historic context or significance.

Recent changes to planning law have made it easier to change the use of an agricultural building including to use as a dwelling house.


Hedgerows can make a significant contribution to the historic character of rural areas, but their removal does not normally require planning permission. Historic England’s technical advice webpage on Hedges covers this topic in more detail and includes the following:

  • Dating hedgerows
  • Ecological value
  • Traditional hedgerow management