A new report from the Country Land and Business Association shows that latest statistics indicated that 49% of the applications for permitted development rights to convert redundant agricultural buildings into new homes were refused between July and September 2017.
Permitted development rights allow certain types of building work to be undertaken without needing to apply for full planning permission. But new figures figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show that approvals have fallen 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.
“These permitted development rights are a vital tool for delivering much needed homes across our countryside," said CLA President Tim Breitmeyer. "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.”He also called on Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma to set out 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.