PLANS to help bring empty and redundant rural buildings back into productive use have been unveiled by the government.
The proposals would make it easier to re-use existing agricultural, retail and commercial buildings, such as offices and warehouses, without the need to submit a planning application
Permitted development rights would be created to assist change of use from existing buildings used for agricultural purposes to uses that support rural growth.
Planning minister Greg Clark said further moves to simplify the planning system would make it more accessible to people in communities.
Other proposals include streamlining the amount of paperwork needed for a planning application, speeding up planning appeal decisions and reducing the volume of planning guidance.
The government also wants to ensure planning departments are properly resourced to assess applications promptly and efficiently, reducing the burden on council taxpayers.
Mr Clark said steps had already been taken to improve the planning system through the National Planning Policy Framework and the Localism Act, which were already delivering results.
For example, the rate at which councils are putting in place a local plan is increasing in comparison to the average over the previous seven years, he said.
More than 100 local authorities were now working with front-runner communities on neighbourhood planning, said Mr Clark.
The new proposals would help to maintain the rapid pace of reform by removing unnecessary barriers, streamlining paperwork, and supporting swifter decision making.
"Our reforms to the planning system are making it simpler, clearer and more accessible to people in communities," said Mr Clark.
"Our aim is to have a system that applicants and members of communities can be confident will give a reliable, swift and fair outcome."
The consultation paper on proposals allowing greater permitted development rights is available by clicking here.
The consultation paper setting out a range of proposals to streamline the information requirements for planning applications is available here.
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