The rural sector has welcomed a government commitment to support rural economic growth in the long awaited government response to the Rural Planning Review published yesterday (7 February).
Farmers have welcomed the government planning guidance on farm shops, polytunnels and farm reservoirs which will enable farm businesses to continue to grow.
The CLA, which represents landowners and farmers, said the reforms could provide more rural homes, many of which have been taken forward by the Government in its response to the Rural Planning Review.
This includes new guidance on provision of infrastructure like on-farm reservoirs and polytunnels, as well as extensions to permitted development rights for farmers seeking to turn agricultural buildings into homes.
CLA President Ross Murray said the proposed reforms will have a 'positive impact' on rural economic growth.
He said: “It is important farmers improve their infrastructure, reducing planning barriers to them creating on-farm reservoirs. It could make the difference in encouraging them to invest in their business.
“Turning redundant agricultural buildings into new homes could add income and meet rural housing needs. The idea of a specific new right of permitted development to create affordable homes in particular is a positive step forward.”
'Boost sustainable food production'
NFU senior planning and rural affairs adviser Suzanne Clear said the new guidance should help develop modern farm shops.
She also said the inclusion of polytunnels being considered on agricultural requirements sends a 'positive message' to growers, and could 'boost' sustainable food production.
Ms Clear said: “I am pleased to see that new guidance will allow on farm reservoirs to be positively considered, especially that it takes into account the need for more water storage. The long-awaited consultation on farm buildings and getting more homes on farm is particularly welcome and we look forward to seeing how this moves forward.
“Given the permitted development rights for farm buildings are over 20 years old a change in threshold size is well overdue.”