National Park Authority seeks ‘exemption’ to planning reforms to safeguard local jobs

Published Wednesday 27 February 2013

The New Forest National Park Authority has asked the Government for an exemption from proposed rules which would allow offices to be turned into homes without the need for planning permission.

The Authority said the new proposals should not apply to areas outside the main National Park villages as it would have an adverse impact on the New Forest’s economy.

The Government hopes the changes will encourage developers to bring underused offices back into use as homes. With high house prices in the National Park, the Authority believes that market forces would cause an immediate shift from existing offices to residential use.

The Authority believes that the reduction of office space would have an adverse impact on local business opportunities and jobs, and compromise its ability to deliver its duty to foster the socio-economic wellbeing of New Forest communities. It also suggests that the new homes which would be generated would not be affordable housing. The application for exemption is supported by the New Forest Association.

Pat Wyeth, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority Planning Committee, said: ‘The Authority’s planning policies, adopted following extensive consultation, encourage affordable housing for local people and safeguard employment sites  in the National Park to ensure that the New Forest remains a living, working landscape.

‘We’re concerned that the proposed changes to permitted development rights would undermine this clear framework and result in the New Forest progressively becoming a dormitory area, with residents having to increasingly commute out to surrounding urban areas for local jobs.’

A response from the Government’s Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on the Authority’s application for an exemption is expected shortly, with the changes coming into effect in June 2013 for all areas of the country where an exemption has not been granted. 


Notes to Editors:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy – Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Hilary Makin, Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646608

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