Rural communities will now be given more options to convert agricultural buildings into family homes, after it was recently announced by Housing Minister Dominic Raab to help meet local housing needs.
The Government has announced it will make it easier for people living in rural areas to convert unwanted farm buildings into family sized and affordable homes.
The changes will mean five new homes can be created from existing farm buildings rather than the maximum of three currently permitted. These new measures will help to accelerate the supply of affordable homes in the countryside.
Sam Spencer, associate at Bruton Knowles said: “The latest changes to Permitted Development Rights are naturally good news for people looking to buy or rent in the countryside. The changes will help communities to make the most of existing buildings while helping to meet the housing need at the same time.”
Hundreds of new homes each year are created through conversions of agricultural buildings, and with these changes now in place these numbers are expected to increase.”
It was also announced that the Government is also giving applicants an extra year to convert further storage and outbuildings into new homes.
Sam Spencer said increasing the number of new homes permitted on any given development could prove crucial in ensuring schemes were economically viable.
Sam added: “These changes could be applied to help meet affordable housing targets, particularly in rural areas where affordable housing provision has become problematic. However, what may also help is guidance on the level of conversion work which is acceptable.
“We have many clients who are willing to spend significant sums designing exceptional schemes. However, they often fall at the first hurdle when councils rule that the levels of conversion work they envisage is too extensive and more akin to a new build in the countryside.”
Sam Spencer said clearer guidance would provide greater clarity to both landowners and local authorities, whilst some local councils remain reluctant to recognise permitted development.
“There remains considerable confusion; clearer guidance will help the new five dwelling proposal become a reality.
“Farmers looking to free up redundant space to maximise the value of their farms as a buffer against Brexit are often being stymied by stringently applied planning regulations. Farmers needed to be given every opportunity to maximise their assets – up to and including re-developing surplus farm buildings to help them offset loss of subsidies.”