THE North East is to benefit from new government legislation which will allow the transformation of tens of thousands disused agricultural buildings to be turned into homes.
The scheme which comes into effect from April 6 2014, will allow landowners in the North East to convert agricultural buildings into housing.
Property and surveying firm, Smiths Gore in Darlington has stated that the reuse of these buildings will help meet the much needed housing demand the North East faces, particularly in the rural areas.
These new additions to permitted development rights have followed on from the success of the ‘Greater flexibilities for change of use’ 2013 legislation.
Under the new format, it is not only farmers who can take advantage of the change, but also property owners, estate owners and developers, so long as the building satisfies the criteria.
They will still need to gain approval through a system which has been put in place, similar to planning permission but with an assurance that Councils will not be able to reject the principle of conversion.
Jennifer Hadland, planning consultant for Smiths Gore, has expressed how this will benefit the community and economy in the North-East, as much of the region is rural in nature.
Hadland said: “Change of use to residential will provide a greater housing choice in the area, helping address the current housing shortfall, especially in the rural districts.
“Gaining planning permission to convert an agricultural building to a dwelling can be a long and tedious task.
“Some councils even profess to say that they would rather see traditional agricultural buildings fall into a state of disrepair before allowing consent for conversion to alternative use.”
Hadland added: “This new permitted development right will help remove this hurdle, providing landowners with a greater opportunity to utilise their assets in a modern, suitable and viable manner.”
The criteria specifically refers to conversion of agricultural buildings with a floor space of up to 450 square metres into a maximum of three dwellings, and it must have been in agricultural use on March 20 2013.
Smiths Gore is a rural property consultancy of chartered surveyors which employs 25 people in the town of Darlington.
The firm manages over 2 million acres across the UK for many of the most important landed estates, farmers, institutions and government bodies.
For more information visit: www.smithsgore.co.uk