Rural business leader backs simplification of planning process to boost rural business development
15 November 2012,
Giving evidence to the House of Commons Growth and Infrastructure Bill Committee, Country Land & Business Association (CLA) president Harry Cotterell has called for a less costly and bureaucratic planning system to encourage rural growth.
Explaining how the complexity of the planning sytem puts off small businesses in particular from applying, he said: "A lot of the information is not really necessary for a very small development or small proposal. There are CLA members who live on the top of a hill who have required flood risk assessments, which is plainly ridiculous but very rarely costs less than £1,000."
In this, he welcomed the Bill's amendment to reduce the amount of information required to bring developments forward, and added: "The National Planning Policy Framework will greatly improve the planning environment for small rural businesses and we are very much in favour of the presumption for sustainable development."
The CLA has also welcomed the Government's confirmation of new permitted development rights for non-contentious conversion of agricultural buildings. Cotterell said this recognised that a lot of development in rural areas is "virtually of no significance to the wider population, beyond what is going on in a farmyard".
The publication of the Agriculture Bill this week formally kick-starts the Government's plans to implement a "green Brexit" for farming, the area of the economy most impacted by the UK's withdrawal from the EU from next March.
The Government maintains that a no-deal Brexit "remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome". But it has begun publishing a series of "technical notices" intended to explain the consequences for all parts of the economy should no deal be agreed with the EU by March next year.