Peak Park backs barn conversion decision

A Peak District field barn which campaigners feared could have been open to development if the government had changed planning guidelines
A Peak District field barn which campaigners feared could have been open to development if the government had changed planning guidelines
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Peak Park leaders have welcomed a Government decision not to allow barn conversions without planning permission in national parks.

Lesley Roberts, who chairs the Peak District National Park’s planning committee, welcomed the move: “I’m very pleased that national parks – the green lungs of this country – will be protected from the creeping suburbanisation that this move would have brought.”

The announcement was made by Planning Minister Nick Boles MP on the day he visited the New Forest National Park.

The Peak District and all other English national park authorities had appealed for exemption from the proposal to allow farm buildings to be converted or demolished to make way for up to three houses, a school or nursery without planning permission.

Mr Roberts added: “Traditional farm buildings are an integral part of our landscape and heritage which we were set up to safeguard, and which bring huge benefits for tourism and local jobs.

“It’s not that we oppose the re-use of redundant farm buildings – we have through the current planning system approved many conversions to houses and business units where appropriate and sustainable. I’m pleased we’ll be able to continue to consider these on a case-by-case basis, and the doors have not been opened to uncontrolled development in national parks.”

Peak District National Park chief executive Jim Dixon added: “We are delighted that Planning Minister Nick Boles MP listened to the strength of the argument we made from the national parks and has reflected our special role in guiding good development in the landscape.

“We are keen to work with farmers and landowners to seek positive opportunities to help develop the rural economy.”

The exemption will cover national parks and officially designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.