CLA welcomes planning reforms aimed at boosting rural productivity

08 February 2017

Landowners and farmers have welcomed a government commitment to support rural economic growth in the long awaited government response to the Rural Planning Review published yesterday (7 February).

The CLA represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses and its members own and manage more than 10 million acres of rural land across England and Wales. The organisation had set out a series of reforms that could make a difference to the expansion and diversification of rural businesses and provide much needed 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: “These proposed reforms will have a positive impact on rural economic growth. 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.”

To ensure that economic activity in the countryside is addressed fully by the Government going forward, Mr Murray said the CLA will continue to lobby for a planning system which leads to thriving communities, more profitable rural businesses and increased productivity.

Mr Murray said: “These proposals will now be consulted on and we will work with the Department for Communities and Local Government to see them brought in as soon as possible to make a real difference for people living and working in rural areas. It is vital that the Government follows through with its good intentions to deliver the right outcomes so that rural areas are not left behind.”

Click here to read the Government response to the Rural Planning Review.