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Stackyard News Oct 2010

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No ‘Home Sweet Home’ on the Farm, says CLA

The CLA today said a Government plan to make it easier for farmers to convert agricultural buildings into houses is just part of the solution in helping to relieve the shortage of affordable rural housing.

agricultural buildings

The Association said the "Home on the Farm" scheme, launched to allow farmers to turn redundant farm buildings into new homes largely misses the point.

CLA President William Worsley said: "The lack of affordable housing is a serious problem in rural areas, so it is good the Government is doing something, but this proposal will not make much difference.

"Even if a redundant farm building is capable of being converted into a dwelling, it is not always suitable for this purpose. Many of the buildings, particularly those on working farms, should not be made into homes because the potential occupiers would be exposed to livestock and dangerous machinery. The lack of roads, pipes and sewers to the property would make conversion prohibitively expensive."

Mr Worsley said that if the Government is serious about dealing with the lack of affordable rural housing it needs to be far more radical in its approach.

He said: "First, there needs to be a complete overhaul of the present planning system to encourage development of affordable housing rather than prevent it. Second, the person developing the housing needs to have a say in who occupies it.

"Too many local authorities insist that housing associations should manage affordable homes. Landowners will always be reluctant to provide land or buildings if they have no say in who will live there."

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