RW 2010: Policy changes to increase affordable housing

Farmers in Wales will find it easier to build new homes on their land if they want to pass the business on to the next generation.

New planning guidance unveiled at the Royal Welsh Show aims to encourage the retention of young people in the countryside as well as making rural communities more sustainable through affordable housing and diversification initiatives.

Throughout Wales, there will be an expectation on local authorities to adopt a consistent approach to applications for second on-farm dwellings and for the conversion of buildings to house diversification enterprises.

Wales’ Environment Minister, Jane Davidson, says the policy, known as Technical Advice Note (TAN) 6, will ensure greater consistency throughout the planning system in Wales.

“It’s about making existing rural communities more sustainable, not about large-scale inward migration,” she said.

The minister stressed that the changes were not insignificant. “These are major changes we are making to planning policy in Wales, to allow rural communities to be more sustainable and to survive.”

Wales’ Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, knows personally of business ideas that had failed because of planning rules. A farming family had hoped to build new sheds to keep poultry on their farm but they had failed to secure planning permission. “In the end they gave up,” she said.

She welcomed the new TAN 6 policy, one that she said would give business ideas like this more chance of succeeding.

And Ms Jones also regards the policy of supporting second homes on farms as an important one.

“In this age, more than one generation don’t live together as once was the case so we shouldn’t expect this to be the case on farms,” she said.

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