Farm diversification freed up

29 March 2001

Farm diversification freed up

By Isabel Davies

FARM diversification projects should not be blocked simply because they would create a modest amount of extra traffic, planning officials have been told.

The Government has revised its guidance notes on transport policy (PPG13) so planning officials take a positive approach to farm diversification proposals.

Planning minister Nick Raynsford said: “We want local authorities to take a positive approach to farm diversification proposals to promote rural employment opportunities and to help reduce long-distance commuting to urban areas.

“Such diversification proposals should not be rejected where they would give rise to only modest additional traffic and would not have significant impact on minor roads.”

The Country Land and Business Association said it was pleased ministers had recognised that urban accessibility criteria could not be applied in rural areas.

“These new guidelines bring consistency to national guidance which we and some local authorities felt was missing,” said CLA planning advisor Mark Jones.

Tim Bennett, National Farmers Union deputy president, said the document would add further weight to revised planning policy guidelines issued last week.

The revised notes on the countryside (PPG7) aim to promote greater flexibility in the re-use of redundant farm buildings.

It follows a revision to the regional policy document (PPG11) last October, which makes it clear that the Government does want to encourage diversification.

“This guidance recognises that we need to be able to revitalise the rural economy with developments that create jobs and alternative sources of income, at a time when agriculture is under enormous pressure,” said Mr Bennett.

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