Shropshire Star

Farmers could convert buildings into houses and shops without planning permission under new rules

Planning laws coming into effect today aim to make it easier for farmers to convert unused buildings into new homes and shops.

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Farmers will be able to convert their unused buildings into new homes and shops thanks to new planning laws

MPs say the changes will offer farmers across England 'greater freedoms to diversify and grow their business' without having to spend time and money submitting a planning application.

They will be able to convert agricultural buildings and land into new lucrative business opportunities, such as outdoor sports facilities, larger farm shops and farm training centres, as well as housing.

Minister for Housing, Planning and Building Safety Lee Rowley, said: "Farmers are the lifeblood of communities, and these changes give them the freedom to grow their businesses, and plan for their futures.

"This is all part of our long-term plan for housing to deliver more homes for rural communities and reform the planning system, removing unnecessary barriers to development."

Farming Minister Mark Spencer added: "I am extremely pleased to support our farmers and provide them the freedom to decide the best uses for buildings on their land, without needless bureaucracy holding them back.

"We are listening to farmers and putting them at the heart of future development of our rural areas. Helping farmers secure their businesses and get on with the important job of producing food is our top priority."

Permitted development rights provide more freedoms to develop without applying for planning permission.

The Government is extending these rights to give farmers greater freedoms to diversify and convert agricultural buildings to commercial uses, as well as up to 10 homes, without needing to submit a planning application.

The rules are subject to space and natural light conditions, to ensure homes are suitable.