Farmers asked for feedback on barns
Published November 4th, 2014
West Midlands’ farmers are being asked to give feedback after rules were relaxed to allow the conversion of some agricultural buildings for residential use.
The extension of the permitted development regulations came into force on 6 April and the NFU wants to hear farmers about the change and their experience of dealing with council planners.
The planning change applies on agricultural units outside National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, AONBs.
Developers are required to notify the local planning authority before beginning any development under the new class of permitted development and the planning authority can require reasonable conditions.
Sarah Faulkner, NFU environment and rural affairs adviser, said: “Department for Communities and Local Government, DCLG, data shows that councils are refusing a high number of agricultural-to-residential prior approval applications.
“We would like to hear about our members experiences in the West Midlands, so that we can find out if there are differences between the approaches of local authorities.
“I would urge anyone who has had a prior approval application either approved or refused to contact me at the NFU regional office.
“This is a good opportunity for farmers to have their say and an opportunity for us to pull together information about the planning process.”
The Government order created a new class of permitted development, Class MB, which allows change of use from agriculture to residential use.
An NFU briefing for farmers and growers considers the General Permitted Development Order, GDPO, and how agricultural buildings can be converted to residential use without the requirement of planning permission.
Mrs Faulkner said: “Members should take professional advice before using this new provision as the statutory instrument effecting this change includes significant limitations on its application.”