Planning rules relaxed in Wales to help Covid-19 recovery

Planning rules in Wales allowing temporary alternative land uses will be relaxed for a second year to help businesses recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

The rules, known as Permitted Development Rights (PDR), allow land to be used for non-agricultural purposes such as pop-up campsites, without going through full planning permission.

PDRs have traditionally been limited to a 28-day period within any given year. But the period was doubled to 56 days across all four devolved UK regions last year to help businesses generate more income.

See also: How to go about diversifiying into farm pop-up campsites

Westminster had already confirmed that the extension would continue in England for a second year in 2021. The Welsh Government has now also clarified its position and announced that PDRs will be extended to 56 days between 30 April 2021 and 3 January 2022.

However, officials pointed out that planning permission might still be needed in National Parks and other designated areas such as areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Other local stipulations may be in force and it is important for farmers to confirm that PDRs apply before launching a temporary diversification.

In addition to the PDR changes, the Welsh government set out a more general relaxation of planning rules to reduce barriers to money-making ventures and so help support businesses.

“Where PDRs do not facilitate a temporary use and, therefore, a planning application is required, local planning authorities should prioritise these applications,” Wales’ chief planner Neil Hemington said.  

“Short-term permissions and conditions should be used to manage planning impacts which would be inappropriate on a permanent basis,” he said.

Online campsite booking and marketing agency Pitchup.com said the Welsh government’s move would allow hundreds of farmers and rural businesses to bolster falling rural incomes. 

Founder and director Dan Yates said camping was more popular in Wales than in any other UK country and accounted for 34% of all holidays there.

“The opportunities for Welsh farmers and landowners to cash in on staycations has never been greater,” Mr Yates said. 

The two other devolved regions, Scotland and Northern Ireland, have also voiced support for an extension to PDRs for a second year.

In January, chief planners in Scotland and Northern Ireland stated that they did not expect to enforce 28-day rule limits against any reasonable temporary outdoor uses where a longer period would be appropriate and helpful to businesses.

Further information

The Welsh Government website has full details of the planning law changes

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