More than a third of rural businesses have spent more than £20,000 before having to abandon projects thanks to planning system delays.

For 20 per cent of businesses, the system has squandered more than £50,000. This is according to a new survey of over 600 business owners by the CLA.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) surveyed said they have been forced to abandon plans to invest in their business thanks to outdated and under-resourced planning procedures. And the vast majority (93 per cent) say these rules are hampering economic growth in rural communities.

After Clarkson’s Farm showed millions how planning rules can frustrate enterprise, this data reveals the scale on which it is happening – and for the first time – the cost it is inflicting.

This follows a recent survey between the CLA and Historic Houses, which found 87 per cent of historic building owners see the UK's planning system for heritage as a major barrier to de-carbonising. Almost half of heritage owners (48 per cent) said the current system was ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

Jeremy Clarkson on Diddly Squat Farm

Jeremy Clarkson on Diddly Squat Farm

Mark Tufnell, president of the CLA, said: “We can’t continue treating the countryside as a museum, like it’s something to be looked at, not touched. Because it’s a home to communities and businesses that need to grow after decades of economic neglect.

“The government has been asleep while this outdated planning system has been stunting growth and wrecking livelihoods, and the severe cost it’s inflicting on farmers needs to be the wake-up call.

“What we need is a new system that supports sensible, small-scale developments. It doesn’t matter if you’re Jeremy Clarkson, or from a farming family, all deserve a lifeline and a genuine chance to thrive.”

CLA Director North, Lucinda Douglas, said: “Local planning authorities should give parish and community councils more responsibility to work with landowners to identify local housing needs with particular attention given to affordable housing in rural areas.

"In addition, planners need to focus on sustainable business development so that farmers and landowners can build resilience into their businesses.

“If we are to encourage people with skills and talent to remain or move to the countryside, then we need to be able to build environmentally sustainable yet affordable homes that people want to live in.”