The UK Government has announced major reforms to the planning system that will ease restrictions on the conversion of disused farm buildings into residential properties, including in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The reforms are a major victory for the CLA’s Rural Powerhouse campaign, and follow a period of intense lobbying of Ministers and Parliamentarians.
In a speech in Blackpool, Boris Johnson announced the shake-up of the planning system with the intention of making it easier for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder.
Making it easier to convert thousands of redundant farm buildings into homes on farmland and in designated landscapes, including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a key policy of our Rural Powerhouse campaign
Commenting on this win for for the CLA, President Mark Tufnell, said: “Rural communities everywhere see talented people forced to leave because of the lack of housing. This brain drain holds back the rural economy, depriving our small villages of workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers."
Mark continued: “Making it easier to convert thousands of redundant farm buildings into homes on farmland and in designated landscapes, including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a key policy of our Rural Powerhouse campaign and a step in the right direction. These reforms will create new jobs, encourage more people to live and work in rural areas and allow rural businesses to grow for the benefit of communities across the country.
Urging the government to continue on this path of reform, Mark's closing remarks stated: “There is tremendous untapped economic potential in the countryside. With the right policies, rural businesses could add another £43bn to the national economy. We encourage the Prime Minister now to be bold, and bring forward a robust and ambitious plan to create new growth in our rural communities.”
The CLA will be working with UK Government on the detail of the announcement and how it will be implemented.