Do you have redundant farm buildings that your machinery no longer fits into or are surplus to requirements?
Have you considered a change of use to diversify the building into a commercial unit?
Commercial property comes in a variety of forms including offices, retail, industrial and storage units to name a few. It is worth considering what alterations and services are needed in respect of each of the uses and the impact that this will have on your existing farm.
By adding a commercial enterprise to your business, you bring in an additional income stream that will help spread risk.
Possible investment required
When thinking about the type of diversification, you also need to consider the amount of investment needed. Each type of commercial property requires different levels of conversion.
Retaining the asset
When considering commercial diversification compared to residential use, the lower cost of conversion often means you can retain the premises and rent them out so you retain control and produce an income.
Use class order change
In September 2020, there were amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. If considering diversification, it would be beneficial to review these changes and to check which use class would be required. Please see our planning article here.
Increased tenant demand in the industrial and storage sector
There has been a noticeable increase in demand from tenants looking for space from which to run their e-commerce business. This grew even further as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Larger, more urban developments are being occupied by national companies and this has resulted in smaller companies, who are desperately searching for space, considering relocating to rural locations.
New life to old buildings
Modern machinery can often be too large for older agricultural sheds and by converting these former agricultural properties to commercial use can give the buildings a new purpose, whilst producing an income.
The change of use also ensures that the property is maintained, preventing it from falling into a state of disrepair.
Things to consider
The possible impacts on your existing business
The area where we are seeing the largest growth is in industrial, storage and distribution. We have received good interest for all units marketed in these sectors in the last 12 months.
If you have a redundant farm building and would like to discuss the opportunity of turning it into commercial premises, please contact Tessa.