Planning permission change for barn conversions

The proposals will force planners to speed up their decisions making the planning process, simpler, clearer and more accessible.

Johnny Dudgeon from Savills Estate Management team in Lincoln said: "Currently planning is a significant risk and cost to landowners and many schemes proposed don’t even get off the ground, even if they are proposed to introduce more jobs in the countryside.

"Under the new proposals farmers and other landowners will be able to convert old barns for new commercial purposes, such as; farm shops, workshops, leisure facilities, cafes and even music venues have been proposed.

"This is however only at consultation stage, but we believe this will be positive news for landowners if implemented, especially as it is anticipated that planning application fees will be increased this autumn."

Dudgeon advises those with imminent plans for such development schemes on their estates to perhaps consider deferring for a few months in order to save costs. The changes to the planning law will be going out to consultation for three months until 11 September 2012.

If agreed, they would provide landowners with new opportunities to develop disused barns or other agricultural buildings without the need to apply formally for planning permission by claiming "permitted development rights", similar to those that allow homeowners to build a modest extension to their house without planning permission.

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