CLA East has welcomed new planning guidance from the Government on how councils in Lincolnshire should consider applications from farmers and landowners seeking to convert redundant agricultural buildings into homes.
New advice has been published by the Department for Communities and Local Government following sustained pressure from the CLA, which represents thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses across the eastern region, addressing the right way for councils to interpret Class MB Permitted Development Rights (PDRs).
Changes to modern farming enterprises and the ever-increasing size of machinery have meant some agricultural buildings are no longer feasible to use.
In the past it was necessary to obtain full planning permission to put these buildings to an alternative use.
However, PDRs have dramatically simplified the process.
Yet the CLA say landowners had been left concerned about the unwillingness of local planners to engage with the changes that would help to underpin farming businesses and boost the region’s rural economy.
CLA East Regional Director Ben Underwood said: “The introduction of PDRs followed a hard fought battle by the CLA, leading to significant demand from farmers and landowners to convert buildings on their land. However, they have found themselves frustrated by inconsistent and unduly restrictive decisions to refuse conversions across the region.
“That is why we have been determined to get Ministers to clarify the law so that all involved know where they stand when it comes to implementing the regulations. We are optimistic that this guidance will go a significant way to addressing our concerns.
“Converting old agricultural buildings to residential use is ideal for those looking to create living space for their families, staff or even themselves, especially if they are looking to retire and pass their farmhouse and business over to the next generation or a successor.
“It also means old and unused buildings that are part of our farming heritage are not lost forever to the ravages of time.”