20 May 1999
Rural renewal using old farm buildings

THOUSANDS of rundown barns and farm outbuildings are to have a new lease of life to bring jobs to failing rural communities.

Ministers are concerned by a planning system that refuses farmers and landowners permission to change the use of their premises.

They want to make changes in the rules to make it easier for a transition to new uses to take place.

The rules will insist that the need for job creation is considered when local councils debate planning applications.

Ministers have been told of the scale of the problem and the frustration of farmers attempting to diversify at a series of public meetings.