Government announces 'Rural Productivity Plan'

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News article

Government announces 'Rural Productivity Plan'

August 2015

Rural Productivity Plan

The Government has this week announced its plan to boost rural productivity to help the countryside thrive. The 10-point plan aims to ease working, living and access to rural communities by improving communications, education opportunities, facilitating business development, easing planning barriers, promoting more housing and move towards devolution.

16% of England’s output is delivered by rural areas and the Chancellor George Osborne states that: “For too long, the British economy has been reliant on businesses based in our cities and towns. We want to create a One Nation economy that taps into the potential of all parts of our country. That means setting the right conditions for rural communities and businesses to thrive, investing in education and skills, improving rural infrastructure, and allowing rural villages to thrive and grow.”

Proposals include a review of permitted development rights for residential and commercial use with a view to improving the process and speeding up planning delivery overall to facilitate growth and provide more certainty for local business.  More specifically there will be a review of the threshold for agricultural buildings to be converted to dwellings.

The plans include an increase in housing through enabling villages to more easily establish neighbourhood plans and allocate land for new homes. An overall target to deliver 200,000 Starter Homes is set out, which will see houses at 20% less market value for first time buyers under the age of 40.

Strong conditions for rural business growth will be created in the form of Enterprise Zones in these areas. Bidding for the current round ends next month with preferences given to proposals involving smaller towns, districts and rural areas.

The government will also provide better regulation and improved planning for rural businesses by reviewing planning constraints. Measures to tackle these issues will be outlined next year.

Kay Davies, Partner of the Planning Team at Fisher German, comments “The Government’s Rural Plan demonstrates continued commitment to freeing the planning shackles in rural areas, which have for too long been seen as places frozen in time where the door is closed to development.”

 

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