Rural World is a directory for rural and agricultural businesses

Rural World Newsletter March 2008

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Welcome to the Rural World Newsletter.  Every month, we take a closer look at some of our members and share their latest news and experiences with you.  Each and every one of the businesses showcased here are based in the UK and are classed as a rural business.  They may provide products and services for the agricultural and rural industries or help to encourage visitors to the countryside as part of the rural tourism industry. 

This month, Rural World is delighted to introduce Bob Salmon from Food Solutions Publishing.  Bob is a regular face at Brussels, lobbying for the rights of the small independent food producer and retailer. His expertise is based on making very complicated food legislation clear and easy to understand and implement.

If you are a member of Rural World and would like to see your business showcased here, please do let us know.  If you would like to know more about Rural World or register your business with us for just £15 for three months, click here.

 In this months newsletter:-

Rural Business Networking in Leicestershire
North Norfolk Coast Earth Day Event

Certificates of Lawful Existing Use and Development - OR - Whoops, I Forgot to Get Planning Permission, What can I Do Now?
Cartoon Artist is Granted More Support From Birmingham City Council

HACCP and very small businesses
And Finally.....

Rural Business Networking in Leicestershire

Women in Rural EnterpriseFancy a bit of speedy business?

Then go along to the speed networking event hosted by WIRE (Women In Rural Enterprise).  This event is open to both sexes so there is no excuse for not attending!

This event is to be held at Sysonby Knoll Hotel on the 12th March at 6.30pm till 8.30pm.  A light lunch will be provided.  Don’t forget to bring your business cards!  Limited places available so book now to ensure a place by calling Alison on 01664 851682 or email on alison.wire@retrospect.org

WIRE members and advance bookings £5, Entrance on the door £8

North Norfolk Coast Earth Day Event

Earth Day 2008 www.deepdalefarm.co.uk/earthday
Tuesday 22nd April
10am to 4pm
FREE to attend

Deepdale Backpackers and Camping at Deepdale Farm on the beautiful north Norfolk coast, is an eco-friendly backpackers hostel and campsite.

On Earth Day 2008, 22nd April, Deepdale Backpackers and Camping will be hosting a whole range of eco-friendly organisations for an exhibition of environmental technologies.

Businesses and the general public are welcome to visit Deepdale for FREE to meet installers, look around the facilities at Deepdale Farm or enjoy an Earth Day BBQ of local food and drink (£7 per person).

Stands at the Deepdale Earth Day event cost £25.  There is the opportunity to be inside in one of the two barns or outside.  Stall holders need to bring their own tables and chairs.

To find out more about the event or to book an exhibition space please
visit: www.deepdalefarm.co.uk/earthday


Certificates Of Lawful Existing Use And Development Or Whoops I Forgot To Get Planning Permission What Can I Do Now?

If you are considering starting any project on your land you need to consider the planning situation of your property and your idea.  A discussion with a firm of planning specialists like Acorus can be invaluable. 

English law starts with the premise that any operation or development or change of use, on under or over land requires planning permission.  From this position there are a range of exemptions which are contained in the General development Order and the Use Classes Order.

However, it is not illegal to start a project without planning permission, but you do leave yourself vulnerable to enforcement action by the Local Planning Authority (LPA).  The enforcement action could force you to demolish any building or cease any use for which planning permission is required and has not been obtained.  This is also the case for any breaches of conditions which have been attached to a planning permission.

If faced with an enforcement notice you have 3 options:

1.      Comply with the notice and demolish the structure or cease the use.
2.      Apply for a retrospective application.  This will be treated the same as any other planning              application and considered within the policy framework of the LPA.
3.      Apply for a certificate of lawful existing use or development (CLEUD).

It is illegal not complying with an enforcement notice by the times specified.

CLEUDs are decided on the balance of probability that the use has been undertaken for more than 10 years or that the structure has been substantially completed for more than 4 years.

CLEUDs are also useful if you are considering selling or borrowing against your property as they will consolidate any value that the use has.  It is also worth considering applying for a CLEUD if you are going to undertake further development or change the use as it may help with future applications.  Once a CLEUD is obtained rates will become payable and building regulations may be applied.

An example of CLEUDs being used is at Kippax Gardens, near Allerton Bywater.  Adam Hepworth had decided in the early 1990s that he could set up in his own right as a mechanic repairing cars and vehicles.  His father had a barn which was underutilised and the obvious place for Adam to start work was in his father’s barn.

Over the years Adam’s business grew and he installed a car ramp, re-clad the building and improved the height of one of the repair bays.  In May 2007 he received an enforcement notice from Leeds City Council informing him that he did not have planning permission and that action would be taken against him unless the issue was resolved.

Adam contacted Acorus and they arranged to meet him on site very promptly.  They sat down in the workshop over a coffee and discussed in detail the history of the site.  They found as much evidence as possible including dated photographs, receipts and invoices for car parts covering the period of the use.  Acorus also assisted in facilitating statutory declarations from clients and preparing a full supporting statement. 

After 2 meetings with the planning officer Acorus successfully obtained a CLEUD for Adam from Leeds City Council.  This means that he can carry on his business providing excellent service to his clients and a secure future for him and his young family.

Acorus Rural property ServicesIain Skinner BSc.(hons), MRICS
Rural Property Consultant
Business Manager - Leeds
 
For Acorus Rural Property services Ltd.
Chartered Surveyors & Planning Consultants www.acorus.co.uk

Cartoon Artist is Granted More Support From Birmingham City Council

Earlier last year it was announced that new cartoon inspired artist Claire Kiernan would receive business funding from the Princes Trust, which in 2007 enabled the birth of web-based company, cartoonarts.co.uk.  Claire has now been granted additional support from Birmingham City Council, in shape of the creative industry’s feasibility grant, which will enable her further business growth and to build upon the reputation she established during 2007.

Cartoon Arts The aim of the business grant is to enable Claire to widen her recognition on a more local basis and gain the support of new customers in the West Midlands.  A mass marketing campaign with Royal Mail is planned and further website redevelopment will undoubtedly pull in new business. Alongside this, Claire plans to release a new set of exclusive limited edition prints and one-off originals in 2008 which will be supported by further advertising and exposure, followed by exhibits at both the BCTF in April and The Royal Show in July.  To kick-start the exposure of Cartoonarts in the West Midlands, Claire was invited along to Wolverhampton Community Radio late last year to discuss ‘entrepreneurs and enterprise week’.  To hear this interview with Shivani Mair, visit www.wcrfm.co.uk or contact Claire for details.

New interior photographs of Claire’s work have been produced as a result of the council grant and showcase her wide range of pieces within a variety of settings, proving that her subject matters are ‘not only for kids’ and can be suited to all ages and occasions.  Her cartoon pet caricatures are continuing in their popularity and proved popular with Christmas shoppers in 2007.

Due to an increasing number of requests in 2007, Cartoonarts now also offers corporate clients a range of freelance illustrative services.  These include logo design, digital illustration and greeting card designs for publishing houses.  The re-launch of cartoonarts.co.uk will focus on outlining these additional services to the public and local businesses alongside its expanding portfolio of paintings and prints on sale, and will indeed provide a more user-friendly and sophisticated website for all shoppers.

Claire Kiernan www.cartoonarts.co.uk

HACCP and very small businesses

You will recall that the EC Regulation that defines what we all have to do in food businesses demands a form of HACCP. This is the system that seeks to identify and control any hazards to food safety before the food is offered for sale. The Regulation says “Food business operators shall put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures based on the principles of HACCP”. HACCP is Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.

The Regulation is quite specific in that it demands that certain “pre-requisites” are put in place first. These are such things as general good hygiene practice, temperature control, pest control, proper facilities and equipment and the like. These are all common sense, or should be. To help business and especially small ones achieve these standards the Food Standards Agency in Britain, FSA, has issued guidance called Safer Food, Better Business with comparable titles in Northern Ireland and Scotland. These are free from 0845 6060667. They tell you how to comply with the rules and the sorts of records you may need to keep.

In the Regulation there are seven steps. 1 to identify any hazards, 2 Identify critical points where those hazards could be eliminated or controlled, 3 Establish limits at these critical points, 4 Establish monitoring procedures, 5 Establish the corrective actions that may be necessary, 6 Make sure the systems are working properly and constantly review them and 7 keep records of what you have done.

You will also be aware that the European Commission is under pressure to simplify rules for small business. So last year it was suggested in the European Parliament that food operations with less than ten employees or a turnover of less than €2 million may not need to keep records. There was strong opposition to this on the grounds that most small food businesses had now got some form of HACCP, the limit of 10 employees was meaningless – if anything it should be by levels of risk – and exemptions already existed in the official EC guidance to the HACCP Regulation. This guidance says that if you are not preparing, manufacturing or processing foods – and you have done all the pre-requisites – you need not implement a HACCP system. Such businesses would be market stalls, mobile sales vehicles, small retail shops etc. Further, if you were following a guide to good hygiene practice, you may also be able to control all the hazards without having a system. Such could be restaurants, bakeries, butchers and retailers.

The “simplification”  was rejected last autumn. In fact my wording was adopted by the UK Government in their opposition to the proposal. Not to be seen to be idle the Slovene Presidency has resurrected the idea this year. Following a question by Horst Schnellhardt several amendments have been proposed to bring back the exemption. One of the 26+ suggests you may be exempt based on “company-related risk assessments”. Just where these people think a very small operation might have a company-related risk assessment is beyond me.

So a number of us, including the NFU, British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation, Which? And several others, have written to the MEPs to renew our objections. We have said this on a number of grounds. We do not see the cut-off at 10 employees with no account of risk is reasonable or logical. The exemptions are already there with satisfactory definitions in the official EC guidance dated November 2005. The FSA guidance in Safer Food, Better Business calls for reporting by exception rather than rule – in the format of a diary. Most of all we see businesses having a need to be able to demonstrate that they are taking all reasonable precautions (due diligence). If you have nothing written down, how does the inspector know that you have done anything?

Food Solutions PublishingFor a detailed description, with a checklist, of the requirements of the HACCP Regulation, the Food Solutions Guide has a useful, clear and comprehensive chapter. The guide can be purchased at a discount by members from www.food-solutions.org

Bob Salmon

And Finally.....

Calling all Fodder Producers - Rural World would like to see lots more of you advertising in our fodder section so to give you all a bit of extra encouragement, we are offering each new fodder producer three months of advertising for free!  There is no catch, simply contact us and we will send you either a link to a free sign up page or we will post or fax you a printed version of the sign up form.r

The Rural World Newsletter reaches thousands of people from the rural and agricultural sector. If you are a member of Rural World and would like to share your news with us, contact us and we will do our best to include you in our newsletter.  Joining Rural World is easy.  You can have a directory listing including details of your business, your contact details, a logo or image and a link to your website for just £15.  Simply click here or contact us and we will send you a printed sign up form.

All articles are provided by subscribers of the Rural World site and as such are not the opinion or advice of Rural World or its owners.