Planning red tape slashed for farmers making it easier to convert unused farm buildings - The Evesham Observer

Planning red tape slashed for farmers making it easier to convert unused farm buildings

Evesham Editorial 21st May, 2024   0

Planning rules coming into force today make it easier to convert unused farm buildings into new homes, farm shops and gyms.

Farmers will be able to convert their unused buildings into new homes and shops thanks to new planning laws coming into effect today.

The major changes give farmers across the region greater freedoms to diversify and grow their business, without having to spend time and money submitting a planning application.

They will be able to convert agricultural buildings and land into new lucrative business opportunities, such as outdoor sports facilities, larger farm shops and farm training centres, as well as housing, thanks to the changes to permitted development rights coming in today.

Ted Jones, a 3rd generation sheep farmer in Warwickshire said:

“THIS IS GREAT NEWS. WE HAVE APPLIED TO OPEN A FARM SHOP AND ARE STILL WAITING TO HEAR. HOPEFULLY THIS WILL SPEED THINGS UP SOMEWHAT. IT ALSO GIVES US THE OPPORTUNITY TO DIVERSITY IF WE WANT TO. FARMERS UP AND DOWN THE COUNTRY WILL BE WELCOMING THIS NEWS TODAY”




G Davis, a dairy farmer in the West Midlands added:

“I’m delighted to hear this news. It’s something we have helped campaign for and will make such a difference. Sometimes there are so many hoops to jump through when looking at land permits and permissions, it can be very time consuming. We’re delighted that more red tape is being cut. It certainly makes life a lot easier and is a lifeline to farming going forward.”


Farming Minister Mark Spencer said:

I AM EXTREMELY PLEASED TO SUPPORT OUR FARMERS AND PROVIDE THEM THE FREEDOM TO DECIDE THE BEST USES FOR BUILDINGS ON THEIR LAND, WITHOUT NEEDLESS BUREAUCRACY HOLDING THEM BACK.

WE ARE LISTENING TO FARMERS AND PUTTING THEM AT THE HEART OF FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR RURAL AREAS. HELPING FARMERS SECURE THEIR BUSINESSES AND GET ON WITH THE IMPORTANT JOB OF PRODUCING FOOD IS OUR TOP PRIORITY.

Permitted development rights provide more freedoms to develop without applying for planning permission.

From today, the Government is extending these rights to give farmers greater freedoms to diversify and convert agricultural buildings to commercial uses, as well as up to 10 homes, without needing to submit a planning application. These rules are subject to space and natural light conditions, to ensure homes are suitable. It is hoped these new rules will also help turbocharge rural housing development, with just 5,000 homes delivered on farming land since April 2014.

The changes will:

  • Double the amount of floorspace that can change from agricultural to ‘flexible commercial use’ from 500 square metres to 1,000 square metres.
  • Increase the size of new buildings or extensions that can be built on farms over 5 hectares from 1,000 square metres to 1,500 square metres.
  • For smaller farms increase the size of such development from 1,000 square metres to 1,250 square metres.
  • Double the number of homes that can be delivered through the conversion of agricultural buildings from five to 10.
  • Protect nationally important archaeological sites (scheduled monuments) by removing the ability for extensions to be built and new buildings erected in the vicinity.

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