The CLA, the organisation representing tens of thousands of landowners, farmers and other rural businesses, has urged Ministers to press ahead with measures that would speed up planning system and help them invest and grow their businesses.
In a response to the Rural Planning Review Consultation, the CLA has reinforced its longstanding campaign to secure new permitted development rights that make it easier for farmers and other landowners to convert redundant buildings and put in place new infrastructure.
The CLA has called on Defra and the Department for Communities and Local Government to put in place a series of new permitted development rights that would allow farmers to:
- erect polytunnels that allow them to grow more produce;
- increase the number of on-farm reservoirs to manage water and assist with irrigation;
- increase flexibility when converting buildings into farm shops so as to sell more produce locally; and
- make it easier to erect anaerobic digestion plants to better manage waste.
CLA President Ross Murray said: “We have seen significant success in helping farmers and other landowners to invest in their business as result of permitted development rights. The best example is conversion of redundant agricultural buildings to much needed rural homes. The best thing Government can do to deliver growth in the countryside is put in place a number of additional permitted development rights.”
The CLA has also set out concerns about the continued resistance to the new planning approach established under the National Planning Policy Framework that has been in place since 2012. Issues raised include the significant number of Local Authorities that still do not have an up-to-date Local Plan, the number that do not have plans that adequately address the need for rural economic development and the continued resistance to much needed development.
Ross Murray continued: “There remains a significant barrier to economic development in the countryside from the planning system. Changes made under the National Planning Policy Framework have been positive, but still there is too much local resistance to change. We will continue to make the case for a national planning policy that strikes the right balance between preserving the uniqueness of our rural areas, the beauty of our landscapes and promoting the economic development that is vital to the future of a living and working countryside.”