CLA, President Mark Tufnell, said: “…“Making it easier to convert thousands of redundant farm buildings into homes on farmland and in designated landscapes, including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a key policy of our Rural Powerhouse campaign and a step in the right direction.
And we will sensitively make use of existing planning rights, for example by making it easier to turn disused agricultural buildings into homes for local first-time buyers, and to support farmers in growing and diversifying their businesses.
In practice this means removing the conservation areas and national landscape exemption in Part Q of the GDPO
Which includes a prior approval condition
(e)whether the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order, and
(f)the design or external appearance of the building
Guidance has made it clear the ‘undesirable’ access condition relates not to unsustainable locations but to inaccessible terrain.
The great concern is whether at prior approval stage statutory protections for heritage assets and /or national landscapes can be considered.
In many cases such as with sheep barns in limestone hills never in a million years should domestic conversion be considered and access roads and domestic paraphernalia would suburbanise our most prcious landscapes. It would also render most national park local plans out of date.
It is a fundamental misuse of PD right to make PD subject to prior approval something that in the majority of cases it is national policy to refuse. Its a waste of every bodys time and a leech of planning fees. Unless of course the intention is to undermine national protective policy as a clientist bung to favoured land owners.