2017-03-13   facebooktwitterrss

Proposed Changes Announced to Rural Planning System

H&H Land and Property have welcomed a recently released response from the Government to a consultation carried out last year on a variety of planning matters including rural planning.

The measures proposed will apply in England only as planning is a devolved matter in Scotland.


The document, which was somewhat overlooked, having been published on the same day as the Housing White Paper, highlighted some very interesting issues, especially in relation to rural planning. The report identified farm shops, polytunnels, on-farm reservoirs and barn conversions, as key areas to be addressed.

Commenting on the changes, Neil Henderson, Senior Planner at H&H Land and Property said:
“Briefly, the response document recognises the importance of flexibility for farmers.

“In relation to polytunnels and on-farm reservoirs, the government proposes to amend guidance to better support their development and to ensure they are given the appropriate, positive consideration within the planning system.”

Several responders considered planning conditions on farm shops to be too restrictive, particularly with regard to opening times and the types of goods to be sold. The government has responded that it will, ‘make clear that planning conditions on farm shops should be reasonable and proportionate.’

“The biggest proposed change is to do with granting further permitted development rights to convert agricultural buildings into new homes,” said Neil.

It is already possible for individual farm holdings to convert agricultural buildings to up to three homes on each agricultural unit, with a maximum floor space of 450m2. However, the government is now considering a new agricultural to residential use, permitted development right, which would see the maximum floor space increased to a maximum of 750m2. The number of homes permitted would also increase to five, with each property having a floor space no greater than 150m2.

This would appear to be in addition to existing rights, offering the option to convert a large building into one or two larger dwellings or up to five smaller dwellings - provided that the rights had not already been exercised elsewhere on the farm holding.”

The government is consulting further on this matter; seeking views on how to make sure that the new homes meet local need, and whether the new rights should have similar conditions to those which apply to the existing rights. Neil goes on to say:
“As usual with these matters the devil is in the detail, so we await the publication of detailed legislation with anticipation.”

Finally, the government has also indicated it will provide further guidance, in the form of clarification for both applicants and local planning authorities, as to what building works are permitted to convert an agricultural building to residential use. “This is most welcome as some local planning authorities apply the rules more rigidly than others,” concludes Neil.

H&H Land and Property, is one of the H&H Group of businesses, and operates from offices in Carlisle, Durham, Kendal, Middleton-in-Teesdale and Newtown St. Boswells. It offers the rural community a broad range of services, aiming to provide unrivalled access to sound professional advice.

H&H Land

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