One of many promises made by the Conservatives during the run up to the election was to encourage rural development in order to develop the rural economy. Last week George Osbourne and Liz Truss indicated they were delivering their promise in an article in the Telegraph.They have now issued their 10 point plan so Julie Branfield, head of planning at Carver Knowles, takes a look.
The plan aims to boost productivity in rural areas to make the countryside ‘Britain’s engine of growth’. Many of the points in the plan re-affirm existing policy but there is also a renewed focus on the rural economy which should help rural development in the broader context.
The key points of the plan are:
1. Broadband – A commitment to delivery ‘superfast’ services of at least 24Mbps to 95% of UK households and businesses by 2017.
2. Mobile communications – Proposals to extend permitted development rights for additional mobile infrastructure.
3. Transport – Delivery of £15 billion Road Investment Strategy for 2015-2020.
4. Education and training – Fairer funding for schools, including those in rural areas.
5. Apprenticeships – An increase in apprenticeships for food and farming and small tourism businesses.
6. Enterprise Zones – Preference will be given to new Enterprise Zones in smaller towns and rural areas.
7. Better regulation – Government will “review the planning and regulatory constraints facing rural businesses and measures that can be taken to address them.”
8. Housing – A commitment to review the current threshold for the conversion of agricultural buildings to residential use.
9. Affordable childcare – Government is looking at ways to deliver 30 hours of free childcare, including in rural areas.
10. Devolution – Consideration will be given to the devolution of more powers to local areas where there is a strong and accountable local governance.
The other elements under review will be the threshold for the conversion of agricultural buildings to residential use and a proposal for a fast-track planning certificate process to establish the principal of development for minor projects. Details on the existing permitted development rural can be found in a previous article (Click here)
Although these points sound excellent in principle the key to achieving real rural development will be in the execution. However as the guiding principle indicates that rural development is positive then this should be a guiding factor when looking at farm development, diversification and considering opportunities.
This plan should be a material factor when considering planning applications for rural property. If the general thrust of government policy encourages rural development planning should not be a barrier.
Carver Knowles are rural planning consultants that have helped with many rural development projects from single and multiple dwelling applications, diversification projects and farm expansion in the local authorities across Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.