New planning guidance introduced in Powys aims to make it easier to set up market gardens or smallholdings in the county.

The advice covers the need to have a home nearby when running a small-scale horticultural business in the Powys Local Planning Authority area (all parts of the county outside of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park).

It should make it easier to get planning permission from Powys County Council for a house in the open countryside when a grower needs it to be close to their crops.

Powys County Council’s chief officer, Matt Perry, said: “The evidence suggests that small-scale horticulture can be both highly productive and profitable, but despite this a large proportion of the vegetables and fruit we eat every day aren’t grown in Powys or even in the UK.

“There is great potential for much more of the food we buy to be grown closer to home, boosting the Powys economy, providing a more predictable supply of fresh and nutritious produce and reducing our carbon footprints as we look to address the climate crisis.”

The council also said commercial vegetable and fruit growers in Powys may be able to access financial support for their investment plans through the Welsh government’s Food Business Accelerator Scheme.

The purpose of the planning guidance, the council said, is to expand upon existing national policy and guidance for Rural Enterprise Dwellings (REDs) to address the specific circumstances of small-scale horticultural enterprises, which it wishes to support.

The council said small-scale horticulture can create high productivity and profitability from relatively small sites.

“Since the 1950s fruit and vegetable production has greatly reduced and there is great potential for re-localisation of these and other foods,” it said.

“Smaller holdings can also generate wider environmental and other benefits and help support healthier lives through producing fresh and nutritious local food.”