CLA is fiercely critical of local councils for “blocking” farm building conversions

The way some local authorities are treating the legislation on farmers’ development rights for converting agricultural buildings to homes has been labelled a “scandal” by the CLA.

Claiming that local authorities are “blatantly refusing” to follow the Government’s positive legislation on conversion rights, the CLA has written to Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis calling on him to act on the matter.

“If the Government is serious about getting more underused agricultural buildings back into use and helping with our chronic housing shortage, then the Planning Minister must act to ensure local authorities take a genuinely constructive approach to permitted development,” said CLA president Henry Robinson.

The president’s annoyance over the issue was prompted by a recent House of Commons statement by Mr Lewis which “revealed that the extension of permitted development rights was empowering individuals”.

The CLA’s letter, in contrast, pointed out that since the law was changed to encourage more conversion of agricultural buildings only one third of applications for the conversion of farm buildings to homes have been permitted by local authorities.

“That local authorities are blatantly refusing to follow legislation is a scandal,” said Mr Robinson.

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