Government consultation on relaxation of planning rules for barn conversions (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Government consultation on relaxation of planning rules for barn conversions
CONCERNS have been raised about the consequences of allowing unused barns in National Parks to be converted into homes using proposed new Government regulations.
A Government consultation is appealing for views on shops and banks being used for homes; premises used as offices, hotels or leisure facilities being changed into childcare nurseries; and agricultural buildings of up to 500 square metres to be used for schools or nurseries.
It is also seeking opinion on the change of use of agricultural buildings of up to 150 square metres to residential use – meaning that strict planning rules could be relaxed to remove the requirement of obtaining full planning permission to change barns into homes.
Gary Smith, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s director of conservation and community, said: “There are about 6,000 barns in the Yorkshire Dales National Park – some in pristine condition, others completely derelict.
“The authority – as the local planning authority – currently has a number of policies that support conversion into homes so they fit into this beautiful landscape and contribute to local housing needs.
“This consultation paper proposes to relax local planning controls. We think that, given the high number of remaining unconverted barns across the National Park and the absence of any proposed mechanism to make barn conversions affordable, it could have serious implications for the area and for local communities if it is implemented as currently set out.
“Members have been notified about the proposals and a report will be going to the next authority meeting on September 24 to debate the issue and consider the authority’s response.”
North Yorkshire County Councillor and chairman of Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council John Blackie said: “The parish council and I have together called time and again over the last 15 years for barn conversions to be allowed for local people, and a reduction of the power of planning officers on this aspect of planning.
“Planners have been standing in the way of getting of an affordable housing solution to give our local families an opportunity of being housed locally.
“We were not calling for it to apply to every barn, but only those by or near the roadside, especially in small settlements and enclaves, where there will be no harm to the landscape.”
The consultation is open for comments at gov.uk/government/consultations/greater-flexibilities-for-change-of-use until October 15.
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