More changes to the planning system

Released under the relatively innocuous title, ‘Next steps to improve the planning system and support sustainable development’, there are some potential time bombs for those of us in rural areas. Reuse of agricultural buildings, “without the need for planning permission”. I wonder what horror stories that will produce for us to end up enforcing against?

The measures include:

Making it easier to re-use existing agricultural, retail and commercial buildings, such as offices and warehouses, without the need to submit a planning application, supporting small business growth.

A consultation is being published on changes to the Use Classes Order, which determines the flexibility with which such buildings can be re-used.

The consultation also proposes allowing so called ‘meanwhile’ or temporary uses of certain buildings to open up premises to new businesses and to bring redundant buildings back into use, in line with recommendations in the Portas Review.

An increase in the planning fees is welcome, as the service has always been subsidised by the general,fund i.e. all of the district’s taxpayers. However, will any of the increase in fees actually reach the service itself, or will it all end up in the corporate coffers?