National Park Authority says proposed planning reforms would threaten New Forest

Published Thursday 19 September 2013

The New Forest National Park Authority has strongly objected to Government plans which would allow farm buildings to be converted into housing without the need for planning permission.

These new proposals follow recent changes which already allow agricultural buildings to be turned into offices, and for offices to be turned into homes without planning permission.

At a meeting of the planning committee this week (17 September), Members of the New Forest National Park Authority said the new proposals should not apply to the National Park as they could lead to a rash of new and poorly designed housing taking place across the Forest. It says the proposed changes would have very real implications for the amount, mix and spread of new development in the unique setting of the New Forest National Park.

The Government hopes the changes will encourage developers to bring under-used buildings back into use as homes.

Pat Wyeth, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority Planning Committee, said: ‘With high house prices in the New Forest, it is inevitable that owners will be tempted to convert farm buildings to private houses, threatening jobs, business opportunities and the economic viability of New Forest communities.

‘If these new proposals are introduced, they are likely to have a permanent adverse impact on the rural economy and natural beauty of the Forest.

‘We are keen to continue to work with landowners to support their businesses and our existing policies already support the conversion of redundant farm buildings for alternative business uses and affordable housing.’

The Authority will write to the Government’s Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) strongly objecting to the plans and calling for a full exemption to apply in National Parks. National Parks England, which represents all English National Park Authorities, will also be submitting a response to the proposals.

The Government’s consultation ends on 15 October.

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Notes to Editor:

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 www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:
Hilary Makin, Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646608
Email: hilary.makin@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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