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The Government has announced new development rights that will allow office buildings to be converted into homes without the need for planning permission.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles argues that the new planning measures will ensure empty and underused offices can be swiftly converted into much-needed homes for local people.
The proposals are expected to create jobs in the construction industry and provide significant boost for people in the trades.
Further reforms will also help boost rural communities and create jobs by allowing agricultural buildings to be converted for other business uses.
Buildings no longer suitable or needed for agricultural use could be transferred into new growth-boosting ventures that benefit rural areas, such as shops, restaurants, small hotels and leisure facilities.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “We want to promote the use of brownfield land to assist regeneration, and get empty and under-used buildings back into productive use.
“Using previously developed land and buildings will help us promote economic growth, provide more homes and still ensure that we safeguard environmentally protected land.
“We are absolutely determined to support people striving to bring life back to their communities and high streets.”
Planning Minister Nick Boles said: “These new changes ensure the very best use is made of our existing buildings to provide new homes and makes sure we get the most use we can out of our previously developed land.
“These changes are an important step in improving the planning system and making sure it is in the best possible shape to swiftly adapt to changes and opportunities that can provide a big boost to the economy.”
President of the Country Land and Business Association, Harry Cotterell, said: “We are very pleased with this announcement. It is something for which we have campaigned for years.
“It offers farmers and land managers the chance to find alternative sources of income by using their redundant agricultural buildings in new ways.
“This will underpin their farming businesses and boost the rural economy by helping to create new jobs and businesses at a time when they are greatly needed.”