BDC Magazine


Latest Issue

BDC 319 : Aug 2024


Farmers Demand Right to Build but Brownfield Sites More Favorable?

Farmers have pleaded with chiefs for the right to build as they claim they can help to solve the rural housing crisis. Landowners have said they can help solve the crisis and also regenerate countryside communities but the barriers to development need to be lifted. The head of planning at the Country Land and Business Association, Fenella Collins, has noticed that the growing attention to problems relating to the affordability of housing are causing strain in the rural communities. Members of such communities want to work in a countryside that is socially diverse and thriving economically and developing housing is a great way to do this, however, the planning system has brought frustration to landowners and their plans. Over half of all permitted development rights applications to convert farm buildings into dwellings are still being turned away. And whilst calls have been made on the government to intervene and change regulations to offer clearer guidelines for planning bosses. However, it’s becoming seemingly obvious that are exceptions being made for rural sites. Housing development on rural sites is only allowed if its affordable as seen with statistics surrounding Cornwall and Northumberland. The latter has had no sites built since last year, while 300 homes were allowed to be built in Cornwall. There has also been calls for affordable housing to be made exempt from capital gains and inheritance tax in a bit to make it seem financially attractive. Whilst house building did increase last year, it was down by almost a quarter on pre-recession levels with house prices rising 7% from October 2015 and October 2016. Sheep farmer William Ashley has developed housing on rural land by converting two barns into three dwellings and chicken sheds into a further 12 live-in work units. Mr. Ashley has claimed there is a desire to develop but people are being put up against a brick wall and a frustrating one at that as there is a sense of desperation for housing and farms are being prevented from helping. Instead, housing developers such as Strata Homes and the government are building on brownfield sites as this is a lot cheaper than building on green land. There is a strong local interest to build thousands of homes on hundreds of brownfield sites in the coming years. This will be part of a government strategy to help first time young buyers afford a home whereas on a great site, they would massively struggle to afford the housing. Up to thirty areas across England will receive funding from the Start Homes Land Fund which is said to be a project worth £1.2 billion. Not only are brownfield sites more affordable but it also allows housebuilders to be in closer proximity to the urban amenities. However, planning brownfield land cannot solve the housing crisis alone and does come with its own issues. Planning on such land is an extremely lengthy and complex process due to the heritage impact on the land

Read More »