New planning laws that will allow growers and farmers to change the use of their small farm buildings will come into force at the end of this month (May, 2013), the government has announced.
The change means that growers will no longer have to go through their local council’s formal planning process if they want to alter or bring to good use their barns or other agricultural buildings that are 500m2 or smaller in size.
They will instead be able to use permitted development rights to put these buildings to good use.
Country Land and Business Association president Harry Cotterell said: "Allowing farm buildings of 500m2 or less the flexibility to change into a range of new business uses will help to stimulate rural economic growth.
"It will help underpin farming businesses currently under pressure by creating new jobs and businesses at a time when they are greatly needed in the countryside."
He added: "We are also pleased to see new regulations allowing the change of use of offices to residential. Many CLA members are currently paying empty property rates because of a lack of business tenants so allowing a change of use will reduce costs and provide much-needed homes in rural areas."