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Rule change to increase rural homes

Rural communities are to be given more options to convert agricultural buildings into family homes.

The change in planning rules to better meet local housing needs was announced on Monday (12 March).

Housing minister Dominic Raab said changes to permitted development rights would mean up to five new homes could be created from existing agricultural buildings on a farm.

Currently, only a maximum of three homes are permitted.

Several hundred new homes each year are created through conversions of agricultural buildings, and these changes are expected to boost these numbers further.

The changes will help communities make the best use of existing buildings to help meet local housing needs more efficiently, said Mr Raab.

At the same time, they would help ensure homes remain in keeping with the character of the area and safeguard people’s privacy.

The government is also giving applicants an extra year to convert further storage and distribution buildings into new homes that will help relieve local housing pressures.

Mr Raab said: "We need to be more creative if we are to meet the housing needs of rural communities.

"That’s why I’m changing planning rules so rural communities have more flexibility on how best to use existing buildings to deliver more much needed homes for families."

The new measures will also help farmers adopt the latest innovations in modern farming practices by increasing the size limit of new agricultural buildings on larger farms from 465 square metres to 1,000 square metres.

Permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.

The rights are subject to conditions and limitations to control impact and to protect local amenity.

The amended development right for the change of use of agricultural buildings to provide up to 5 new homes will allow for:

* up to 3 larger homes within a maximum of 465 square metres or
* up to 5 smaller homes each no larger than 100 square metres or
* a mix of both, within a total of no more than 5 homes, of which no more than 3 may be larger homes

Applicants will have a further year – until 10 June 2019 – in which to benefit from the temporary permitted development right for the change of use of buildings used for storage and distribution to residential use.

The regulations are due to come into force on 6 April.


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