The soft fruit producer hit the headlines after its appeal against Waverley Borough Council’s order to remove polytunnels was rejected
Anti-polytunnel campaigners believe this will in future force commercial growers to get planning permission. Major producers are concerned about the implications.
The NFU is considering an application by Hall Hunter Partnership for financial assistance to back its
second appeal, which could take months to be heard by the High Court. Hall Hunter Partnership will claim that the type of polytunnel in question, the Spanish tunnel, is not a building and therefore should not be subject to planning control.
If the court still upholds the Inspectorate’s decision, then the company will argue that there is general permission for the development in the temporary buildings provisions of the General Permitted Development Order 1995.
NFU horticulture chairman Richard Hirst said: “The decision that has been taken does not set a legal precedent and establish any change to planning law.
“However it does highlight the sensitivity of the use of polytunnels and I fear that once the appeal process has finished, whatever the outcome, then there are sure to be some changes to planning law to ensure that the same situation does not arise in future.
“We will be working hard to make the case for Spanish tunnels and the effect they have on both quality and yield.”
Opponents of polytunnels, of whom celebrity gardener Monty Don has the highest profile, claim they impair the beauty of the countryside. Last week Don told The Grocer of his delight at the planning decision.