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Government use Rural Productivity Plan to announce review of residential conversion threshold for agricultural buildings

Wed 23 September 2015

Martin Lee, Stags Chartered Town & Country Planning Consultant says “In a world of ever changing alliances and priorities it is noteworthy that the Chancellor, George Osborne, appears to be pressing ahead with ongoing reforms intended to boost the economy of rural areas and particularly the delivery of new housing.  The publication on 20th August 2015 of the Government’s new 10 point Rural Productivity Plan https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/towards-a-one-nation-economy-a-10-point-plan-for-boosting-rural-productivity reveals a number of new initiatives of interest”.

Martin highlights related articles which include one posted on the Planning Portal https://portaldirector.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/proposals-unveiled-for-starter-homes-on-rural-exception-sites/ and a Government press release https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-plan-will-boost-starter-homes-in-rural-areas 

Martin advises that in the Plan, under Point 8 ‘More Housing’, the Government states its intention to ‘Review the current threshold for agricultural buildings to convert to residential buildings’.  Bearing in mind the proactive and development positive nature of the document, it is anticipated that the current provisions of Class Q of the T&CP (GPD) (England) Order 2015 relating to the conversion of agricultural buildings to dwellings are to be adjusted on the basis that they are seen (in Central Government circles and some Local Planning Authorities) as a positive and practical delivery tool for provision of new housing in rural areas.  The questions Martin poses are “Will we see the current prescription against Class Q in National Parks and AsONB removed, perhaps with a requirement that such proposals in those special areas must provide full detail of design, materials and landscaping?  Or are the limits of up to 3 dwellings within 450 sqm of existing ground floor space to be increased?”  We shall have to wait and see.

For any planning enquiries please call Martin Lee of Stags Professional Services on 01392 439046.

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