I am really excited about this groundbreaking update to the National Planning Policy Guidance (reported on the BBC see here) which finally proposes conversion of redundant farm buildings into much needed housing, even when it is in open countryside. Previously it was extremely difficult to get planning permission to make this kind of development possible. As a practice specialising in this kind of development, this is a very good thing. Nick Boles has published a report detailing the changes to the guidance (also to include retail to residential change of use and redundant farm buildings to educational use), the full document is here. An extract below:
New homes: agricultural to residential change of use
These reforms will make better use of redundant or under-used agricultural buildings, increasing rural housing without building on the countryside. Up to 450 square metres of agricultural buildings on a farm will be able to change to provide a maximum of three houses.
We recognise the importance to the public of safeguarding environmentally protected areas, so this change of use will not apply in Article 1(5) land, for example National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However, we expect national parks and other local planning authorities to take a positive and proactive approach to sustainable development, balancing the protection of the landscape with the social and economic wellbeing of the area. National Parks and other protected areas are living communities whose young people and families need access to housing if their communities are to grow and prosper. I would note that a prior
approval process will allow for flooding issues to be addressed.