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Planning policy reform needed to stimulate rural economy

Immediate action on rural planning is needed to help businesses thrive and secure jobs.

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Planning policy reform needed to stimulate rural economy

As part of its Rural Powerhouse campaign, the CLA has launched a report outlying its vision for a planning system designed for the rural economy.

 

It calls for urgent action that will deliver a simpler and better resourced planning system, rather than a drawn- out process of fundamental changes.

 

With English rural businesses generating £261 billion a year, supporting them with easier planning rules is
essential as the country recovers from Covid-19, argued the CLA.


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It highlighted the following areas that need reform:

 

  • Avoiding wasted expenditure. The CLA said increasing demands for reports and surveys is increasing the cost of planning applications, resulting in essential development projects being delayed or abandoned.
  • The removal of the Community Infrastructure Levy on all new farm buildings. Local authorities can impose the levy on new farm buildings. The CLA argues that unlike the building of commercial units or housing, most farm buildings are not built to increase the capital value of the farm, but for long-term use. It cites the example of a proposed £150,000 charge for a Norfolk fruit farm which made the investment unviable.
  • Introduce a national plan which promotes the conversion of roadside barns which are no longer suitable for agricultural use to residential use.

The CLA also argues there should be a more flexible approach to local authority local plans and better resourcing of the national planning system.

 

Jonathan Roberts, director of external affairs at the CLA, said: “A planning system that acts to restrict economic growth in rural areas


effects a drag on national economic growth, leading to a failure to meet the Government’s objectives.

 

“But a clear and definitive policy towards greater diversification, and acceptance by all of the need for a broader economy in rural areas, could lead to real long-term benefits for the economy.”

LISTEN

Hear more about how the planning system needs to change on FG’s latest Over the Farm Gate podcast, available here.

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