Rural areas are still being prevented from building much needed new homes by local planning authorities.
Latest statistics show that 49% of the applications for permitted development rights to convert redundant agricultural buildings into new homes were refused in the last quarter from July to September 2017, according to figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Permitted development rights allow certain types of building work to be undertaken without needing to apply for full planning permission. But new figures show that approvals have dipped by 10% compared to the same period in 2016.
The CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses said local councils are still not convinced of the value that converting old farm buildings into residential homes has to help solve the rural housing crisis, despite revised government guidance to boost development.
CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said, “These permitted development rights are a vital tool for delivering much needed homes across our countryside. Of course, wildly inappropriate projects should be refused, but with nearly half of these applications being rejected, farmers and landowners have little faith that these rights can deliver.
“Rural communities are crying out for more housing of all types and tenures. Over the past 40 years, it has been extremely difficult to deliver new development in the countryside because national planning policy has been focussed on our towns and cities. These areas are being let down.
“Without more homes, jobs and the potential for businesses to grow, rural communities are increasingly unsustainable. We want to see these permitted development rights delivered as far as possible across our villages to rebuild these communities and ensure local people have homes to live in.”
Breitmeyer called on Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma to set out even clearer guidance for planning authorities so that the delivery of new dwellings is increased in the best interests of people who live and work in rural areas. He said, “We must make our rural communities viable for the future.”