‘Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, has announced a series of new measures to make it easier to bring neglected buildings back into use. Developers will be able to convert old offices into new homes and in rural areas, farmers and landowners will be able to convert old barns into shops, restaurants, small hotels, leisure facilities and offices.
The permitted development right will be in place for 3 years although local authorities will have an opportunity to seek an exemption if they can demonstrate there would be substantial adverse economic consequences.
Mr Pickles said the measures would regenerate town centres and the countryside. “We want to promote the use of brownfield land to assist regeneration, and get empty and underused buildings back into productive use.
“Using previously developed land and buildings will help us promote economic growth, provide more homes, and still ensure that we safeguard environmentally protected land. We are absolutely determined to support people striving to bring life back to their communities and high streets.”
However, Paul Miner, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said he feared that a lack of regulation would mean conversions were unsightly and would bring traffic into the countryside, putting pressure on existing infrastructure.
He pointed out that once a barn had been converted into business premises, it would be easier to get planning permission to then convert the building into a home and to get approval for other developments nearby.
Elsewhere, the Times notes that free schools will be able to open in offices, hotels and warehouses without planning permission under the changes.’
Source: The Daily Telegraph