“Changes to national planning policy that came into force at the end of November 2014 offer rural land owners the opportunity to bring forward small scale housing development without incurring certain Section 106 planning obligations”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
Dinnis explains, “the new policy prevents local Planning Authorities (LPAs) from applying for affordable housing and tariff style financial contributions for developments of 10 dwellings or less, and which have a combined gross floor space of no more than 1,000 square metres. In designated areas such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, LPAs are able to choose whether to apply a lower threshold of 5 units or fewer. The provisions do not apply to Rural Exception Sites (sites that would not normally be used for housing).”
“The new measures take precedence over adopted local plans and offer a significant opportunity to realise greater value and deliver housing from smaller sites within identified settlement boundaries or from sites where the principle of development is likely to become acceptable under the scope of emerging local plans,” says Dinnis. “The provisions also mean that planning authorities should no longer be able to demand payments from farmers towards the provision or improvement of recreational open space before approving agricultural worker dwellings. Authorities that have demanded such payments in the past have in some cases added many thousands of pounds to the cost of dwellings, and it is helpful that their additional costs, seen by many as a ‘planning tax’ will no longer apply” concludes Dinnis.
For further advice on the new exemptions or any other rural planning matters including proposals for agricultural worker dwellings, please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052 or BrianDinnis@Acornrpc.co.uk. Brian is a qualified Chartered Surveyor and an Associate member of the Royal Town Planning Institute with extensive knowledge of rural planning.