LGA voices concerns over permitted development changes for rural communities
In recent days, Housing Minister Dominic Raab has unveiled important changes to permitted development rights affecting home and land owners who live in rural areas.
Previously, farm owners were able to convert existing agricultural buildings into a maximum of three houses without seeking planning permission. But as of 6 April 2018, such individuals will now be able to convert these buildings into as many as five houses without pursuing the traditional planning process, due to changes to permitted development rights.
The changes, which have been introduced in a bid to help rural communities meet local housing needs “more efficiently”, have been largely welcomed by the farming community and planning professionals.
However, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that the changes might inadvertently have a negative impact on rural communities, as such areas could potentially miss out on investment in affordable housing and infrastructure.
According to the LGA, the changes are likely to spark a “dramatic increase” in the number of land owners converting their buildings without going through the traditional planning process.
While this might be good news for farm owners, this could have an adverse impact on the communities themselves, as property owners bypassing the traditional planning process will not be under any obligation to contribute towards local amenities and infrastructure – nor to affordable housing – the LGA has said.
Martin Tett, Housing Spokesperson for the LGA, said that it was “essential that councils, which are answerable to their residents, have an oversight of local developments to ensure that they are good quality and help build prosperous places”.
The comments come at a time when some council leaders are calling on the Government to scrap permitted development rights altogether, amid concerns that local communities need to take a more active role in the planning process to ensure that developments fall in line with community needs.