In an article today (which I won’t link to as it has horrible pop-up windows when you land there), the Daily Mail reports that a new fast-track route through planning controls for the conversion of barns is being proposed. The proposals, under changes to the Use Class Order, cover conversion into shops, cafes and other types of non-residential venues (the Mail uses rock music venues as a example, not sure there’s a massive demand for those). Consultation on these changes runs until the 11th September 2012.
Such a loosening of controls is seen by Greg Clark, Planning Minister as a way to boost the rural economy, making it easier to develop new businesses and create new jobs.
Planning fees will also be increased by 15%, to allow more staffing in planning departments and therefore (theoretically?) faster throughput for applications… which is nice.
Personally, loosening up planning controls always makes me nervous and makes me ask why? If there’s a really good reason for a development then would this really make it more likely to happen?