Nick Boles relaxes rules on converting agricultural buildings and small shops
Planning minister Nick Boles is making it easier for agricultural buildings to be converted into housing or schools.
Up to 450 sq m of derelict or under-used buildings per farm could be turned into a maximum of three houses, he said.
Agricultural buildings up to 500 sq m will also be able to change to state-funded schools and registered nurseries.
The announcement was made as part of the Taylor review of planning practice guidance which began in 2012.
Boles also simplified the change of use of small under-used shops to housing, outside key shopping areas.
The relaxation on the change of use of agricultural buildings will not apply in national parks or areas of outstanding national beauty. But Boles warned the planning authorities in these areas to “take a positive and proactive approach to sustainable development”.
“National parks and other protected areas are living communities whose young people and families need access to housing if their communities are to grow and prosper,” he said.
Farmers will not be allowed to demolish barns – merely to convert them to housing. But campaigners warned of potential damage to the green belt.
Boles said: “I believe that these are a practical and reasonable set of changes that will help facilitate locally led development, promote brownfield regeneration and promote badly needed new housing at no cost to the taxpayer.”
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