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March 23rd, 2018

Changes ahead for permitted rural development – even better news for farmers!

Housing minister Dominic Raab has announced changes to permitted development rights that mean up to five houses can be created from existing agricultural buildings, rather than the current maximum of three. Happy days if you are a farmer with a few spare barns sitting idle.

Excerpt below from the Planning Portal

“”According to the government, “several hundred” homes are created each year through the conversion of agricultural buildings. These changes are expected to increase this number.

The changes aim to help communities make the best use of existing buildings to help meet local housing needs “more efficiently”. They will also make sure the developments are “in keeping” with the character of the area and safeguard people’s privacy.

The new measures, says the government, will also help farmers to adopt the latest innovations in modern farming practices by increasing the size limit of new agricultural buildings on larger farms from 465 square metres to 1,000 square metres.

Raab said more creativity is needed if housing needs of rural communities are to be met.

“That’s why I’m changing planning rules so rural communities have more flexibility on how best to use existing buildings to deliver more much-needed homes for families.

“This is part of our comprehensive reform programme to build the homes Britain needs.”

Applicants will have an extra year to convert storage and distribution buildings into new homes to help relieve local housing pressures, added the government.

Harry Burchill, planning policy officer at the RTPI, noted that the delivery of affordable rural housing is an “important priority” for the planning system, however, “the use of permitted development rights to meet this priority is not an approach consistent with local plan or even neighbourhood plan led decision making”.

“The institute previously raised its concerns about chipping away planning powers from local authorities through the introduction, and extension, of permitted development rights. In practice, the so-called bureaucracy permitted development rights are designed to circumvent still exists in the form of prior approval applications – for a fraction of the fee. More importantly, however, it is unclear how the incremental relaxation of planning regulations will assist the government in delivering the right homes in the right places. Our work studying the location of development goes some way to addressing this question and we will be interested to see how additional homes on agricultural land, allowed through permitted development rights will effect this picture.”

The regulations will come into force on 6 April 2018″”