“Since our article last month about emerging national policy to support succession dwellings, the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has been published setting out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these are to be applied”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants
“In addition to supporting dwellings to enable the succession of farming businesses, the NPPF also supports the subdivision of existing dwellings which will allow houses in the countryside to be converted into multiple homes. It also maintains a positive approach for the residential conversion of redundant or disused buildings where development would enhance the immediate setting and supports the residential use of heritage assets. The definition of a heritage asset is widely drawn and includes buildings that are not listed”, explains Dinnis.
Dinnis continues, “In rural areas, the NPPF places a greater emphasis on development for villages and requires local planning authorities (LPAs) to identify opportunities for villages to grow and thrive, especially where this will support local services, and to bring forward rural exception sites to provide affordable housing to meet identified local needs on land that would not normally be used for housing. It also introduces the concept of entry-level exception sites, no larger than 2.5 acres or more than 5% of the size of the existing settlement, to provide homes for first time buyers and for those looking to rent.”
The NPPF confirms that LPAs should not seek affordable housing from developments of 10 homes or fewer, or 5 homes in designated rural areas, and allows the existing gross floorspace of vacant buildings that are reused or redeveloped to be offset against affordable housing contributions. It also continues to support economic growth in rural areas and states that planning policies and decisions should enable the sustainable growth and expansion of all types of business in rural areas both through the conversion of existing buildings and well-designed new buildings; the diversification of land-based businesses; sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments which respect the character of the countryside; and the retention and development of local services and community facilities. It recognises that sites to meet local business and community needs in rural areas may have to be found beyond existing settlements, and in locations that are not well served by public transport.
“We welcome the continued and, in some case, strengthened planning policies that support development and diversification in rural areas and which will enable farmers and other rural business to unlock their opportunities”, concludes Dinnis.
For further information about the new NPPF and the opportunities that it may present, please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052 firstname.lastname@example.org .