Can I Get Planning Permission on Agricultural Land?

Can I Get Planning Permission on Agricultural Land?

Property investors and developers always look for ways to get the most benefit out of their investment. Finding land at a lower price may be an excellent way to save up the cost when developing a home or any other property.

The cost of land in Ireland varies significantly according to the area. However, the price of agricultural land has escalated immensely in recent years due to the increasing demand for new homes. The planning permission also plays a vital role in the cost of the agricultural land.

There is a considerable price difference between the land with planning permission and the land without. Sometimes obtaining planning permission on agricultural land can increase its price 50 times more than the cost in which it was bought.

It is considered a solid reason why many people are looking for agricultural land and considering obtaining planning permission to build on it. However, obtaining planning permission is quite a complicated process in Ireland as the local authorities strictly control it.

What are the issues around agricultural land?

The agricultural land is the land that is designated for the following purposes:

    • Crop production
    • Rearing livestock
    • Horticulture
    • Dairy farming
    • Other agriculture-related commercial activities

However, with farming on the decline in Ireland, the agricultural land is becoming redundant and is available at low costs. The high housing pressure can make the well-positioned farmland a valuable investment in the longer run.

Obtaining planning permission for developing agricultural land is quite difficult as the farmland is essential to protect the country’s green spaces, scenic beauty and meet all the agricultural demands. Massive erosion of agricultural land for development can leave the people with food shortages and increased prices.


When do I need planning permission on agricultural land?

The owner of the agricultural land will need the planning permission for two main reasons:

    • Changing the agricultural land completely to something else
    • Constructing a new building or set of buildings

However, the planning permission will not be required to change the building’s insides or make minor alterations to the outside.


What are the initial actions that I should take before applying for planning permission?

The process of developing agricultural land is quite risky, and if not planned properly, you can lose a lot of your hard-earned money. Before applying for planning permission, you need to do a lot of groundwork yourself to ensure that you are making a valuable investment that will benefit you in the future. Some of the initial actions that you must take before applying for planning permission are:

  1. Consider your finances:

Before applying for planning permission, you need to consider your finances to avoid any inconvenience in the future. Do you have enough money to complete the development project? Will you have money to buy more land if the project requires it? There is no point in planning a development project or consulting with an architect if you don’t have your finances in order.

  1. Research local policies carefully:

For obtaining planning permission successfully, you need to do a fair amount of research yourself. Suppose you will research the planning policies of the area where the agricultural land is located in. In that case, you will find if any development opportunity exists as local authorities always have a plan in place to address the housing shortage in some regions of Ireland.

The council will have a plan available on their website to indicate the areas where development is allowed and where it is not. You don’t want yourself investing in agricultural land where development of any kind is strictly prohibited. Applying for planning permission would be a waste of both money and time.

  1. Approach the owner yourself:

It is better to approach the landowner yourself so you can successfully obtain the planning permission. You can pay a small amount to keep the deal exclusive and proceed with the complete payment when you get the planning permission to develop on the land.

If the landowner agrees to it, you will minimize your chances of losing any money if planning permission is not granted. In this way, you don’t need to buy the land until you obtain planning permission. You can just walk away and look for another well-positioned farmland for your development project.

  1. Hire a planning consultant and an architect:

A planning consultant and an architect can guide you better throughout the complicated process of applying for planning permission. Working with an architect and planning consultant may not guarantee your success but can make the process run a little smoother and increase your chances of submitting a successful application.

  1. Obtain agricultural prior notice consent form:

Another benefit of contacting an architect before applying for planning permission is that he/she will bring you an agricultural prior notice consent form.

The agricultural prior notice consent form will allow you to construct a temporary building on the site for up to five years. In this period, you can have enough time to plan your project and somehow increase your chances of obtaining planning permission.

  1. Prove your permanence:

If you can prove to the local authorities of Ireland that you need a building on the land for the farming purpose, it will increase your chances of obtaining the permission you need. You would easily qualify for permission to build your home on the agricultural land if you need to be present 24 hours to take care of the livestock or any other agricultural activity that requires your presence on the site 24 hours a day.

After acquiring an agricultural prior notice consent form, you have five years to look for ways through which you can prove your permanence to the local authorities of Ireland. Obtaining planning permission on the agricultural land becomes easy once you prove your permanence to the local authorities.


Planning Permission step-by-step guide

The process of applying for planning permission is similar for every sector. There is a set procedure that you need to follow for applying for planning permission. Following are the steps to apply for planning permission for home building or any other development project on agricultural land:

    • Place an advertisement in the local newspaper and indicate your building intentions to the local people.
    • A planning application that includes copies of advertisement, detailed drawings, site layout plan, location map, and application fee must be submitted within two weeks of placing an advertisement.
    • Provide more details instantly if the local authority asks for them
    • Expect a consultation period in which the local authority will consult with local councils, neighbours, environmental health officers, and highway engineers before making a final decision


Outcomes of planning permission on agricultural land

Once you have submitted your application, the local authority will have almost two months to take the final decision. There are three possible outcomes of a planning permission application: permission is granted, granted under certain conditions, or refused completely.

    • If the permission is granted: In this case, you will have five years to complete the construction. However, it is important not to start construction work until at least one month after a local authority grants the planning permission. During this time, it is possible that other people might object or appeal against the local authority’s decision. It is better to wait patiently for one month and then proceed with your development plan.
    • If the permission is refused: if you are not satisfied with the local authority’s decision, you still have a chance to get the permission you need by appealing to An Bord Pleanala. However, it must be lodged within the first month of the local authority’s decision. Otherwise, you won’t be able to put forward your appeal.


Powerful tips for successfully obtaining planning permission

Getting planning permission successfully also depends on the quality of your preparation and your relationship with all the relevant parties. These powerful tips will help you in obtaining the planning permission on agricultural land successfully.

  1. Create designs of exceptional quality:

Design is undoubtedly an important aspect of your planning permission process. Good design can do wonders for you and increase your chances of getting the planning permission on well-positioned agricultural land that you wish to develop.

Good design always has a smart layout, appropriate scaling and should aim to enhance the character of the surrounding environment. It would be better to look for a professional architect to help you create exceptional quality designs.

  1. Get to know your planning officer well:

It is better to build a positive relationship with your planning officer as he will be the person responsible for making the final determination on your application. Meeting your planning officer before submitting your application can increase your chances of obtaining the planning permission you want.

These planning officers are friendly and can give answers to all your questions patiently. Spending time with them can prove to be extremely valuable in the longer run. Developing a positive relationship will help you in the following ways:

    • Communicating with the planning officer will help you understand what they are looking for
    • A planning officer will also give you ideas and suggestions to help your planning permission process go smoothly.
    • If any problem arises in planning permission, the planning officer will help you immediately obtain a positive outcome.


Cost of the planning permission

Buying agricultural land to obtain permission for it can be less costly than buying land with planning permission. However, if your finances are limited, but you don’t want to miss this golden opportunity to invest in agricultural land that can benefit you immensely in the future, it is better to consult with an expert financial broker.

The broker will look at your plan, your repayment options, your future earnings to help you start. If you invest in agricultural land and wish to transform it into residential properties for profit, a financial broker can put you on the right path. Many brokers will help you plan according to your budget.



Obtaining planning permission on agricultural land can be anything but easy. If you don’t plan wisely and consult with professional people, your chances of receiving a refusal letter are pretty high. Working with professional architects and planning consultants will give you a more incredible opportunity for a successful application. If you wish to build on the agricultural land without planning permission, it can also be done. However, it is quite risky as the penalties for carrying out work without mandatory planning permission are pretty severe in Ireland. It also includes fines and prison sentences of up to two years. Besides the severe penalties, you will also have to tear the whole thing down. Everyone should stick to the rules and follow the proper procedure.