Changes In The Planning System – Could You Benefit?

September 2015

A thriving rural community depends on the collective support given to the maintenance of a prosperous rural economy and the provision of rural housing.

Rural planning has experienced numerous changes in recent times. The 2014 changes to permitted developmental rights to allow barns to be converted to dwellings resulted in unintentional confusion and diverse interpretation across local councils and has ultimately lead to the issuing of yet more guidance in an attempt to stimulate more positive development.

Furthermore, in April this year the government consolidated their ‘General Permitted Development Order’, with one of the major changes being that permitted development barn schemes must be completed within a period of three years starting with the date of prior approval. Working through such changes we continue to guide our clients through the maze of planning opportunities, providing detailed and sound planning advice but in a simple and straightforward manner.

In terms of new housing, local planning authorities are advised in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances, such as the essential need for a ‘rural worker’ to live permanently at or near their place of work. Rural dwelling guidance has gradually been relaxed and it is possible to obtain permission for dwellings required for alternative enterprises, such as alpacas, where an essential need exists.

Planning guidance also requires local and neighbourhood plans to support the creation of individual new plans and boost economic development. It is important to engage with plans as they are drawn up and liaise with your local authority. While we as a rural planning consultancy inevitably experience a mix of both positive local planning and resistance to rural development, the rural economy is increasingly supporting a wider variety of diversified businesses.

Overall the opportunities for farmers, landowners and food producers have never been so good, but it is vital to work within the latest planning guidance to ensure your projects progress positively.

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