“The start of a new year is a good time to pause and reflect on what may be coming in the year ahead and how that may shape current and future business decisions. In the planning world there is much to look forward to that is likely to have a significant impact on our farming and landowning clients”, say Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
The new Housing and Planning Bill has been described as the most significant planning reform for a generation. It is currently going through its committee stages and is likely to come into force in the first half of 2016. “The new Act will focus on the delivery of housing and is likely to lead to a further increase in planning approvals for residential development, including through the conversion of existing agricultural buildings. It will also introduce a new concept of the grant of ‘permission in principle’ on sites that are allocated in local plans and neighbourhood plans which is intended to speed up the planning process and make consent more certain where land has been designated for development”, adds Dinnis.
Other priorities for 2016 and beyond were set out in a Defra document headed “Towards a one nation economy: A 10-point plan for boosting productivity in rural areas”. This includes a focus on the provision of superfast broadband and mobile communications and also links in with the Housing and Planning Bill with an emphasis on more housing provision by ensuring that any village in England has the freedom to expand if there is local agreement and by making it easier to establish neighbourhood plans to enable the provision of new homes, including Starter Homes on rural exception sites.
“These initiatives, combined with anticipated further changes to permitted development rights, suggest that 2016 is going to be a year of further opportunities for our farming and landowning clients to obtain planning consent for both residential and non agricultural business uses. Opportunities may also exist for farmers and landowners to benefit from the roll out of broadband and mobile communications infrastructure if they own suitable sites for mobile communications masts or wireless broadband equipment. In all cases, our advice to clients is to act whilst the policy environment remains supportive, even where their local plan has not caught up with the rapid developments in national planning policy”, concludes Dinnis.
For advice rural planning matters please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052 or at email@example.com.
Brian is a Chartered Surveyor and an associate member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.