Recent changes announced by housing minister Dominic Raab this month will allow more flexibility for rural development and encourage delivery of more housing for key workers and first-time buyers, according to local planning consultant Jo Townson.
The amendment increased the size limit of new agricultural buildings under permitted development rights (PDR) by more than double to 1,000sqm from 465sqm.
In addition, the number of homes permitted to be created from an existing farm building has increased from three to five.
The changes will allow for up to three larger homes within a maximum of 465sqm or up to five smaller homes, each no larger than 100sqm.
The legislation also allows more flexibility than previous rules; a combination of larger and smaller homes can be built (up a total of five).
“As well as the changes to size, the government is also giving applicants an extra 12 months to benefit from the temporary PDR for the change of use of buildings used for storage and distribution into new homes,” explained Jo Townson, a planning consultant based in Cheshire.
“This right will now be extended until 10th June 2019.”
Jo explained: “The goal of these changes is to enable rural communities to better meet local housing needs by utilising existing buildings.
“Hundreds of new homes are created annually through conversion of agricultural buildings and this recent announcement is expected to further boost these positive statistics.”
The regulations apply from 6th April 2018 and support the government’s draft revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework, announced in early March.
“I hope it will incentivise the delivery of more housing in the rural area particularly for key workers and first-time buyers,” Jo said.
“The changes will help bring more redundant buildings back into active use which can only be a good thing for the rural economy.
“The changes to permit much larger buildings is long overdue and reflective of modern day farming practices. It will allow agricultural enterprise to grow without overly restrictive red tape.”