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New Rural Planning Review will look to boost productivity in rural areas

News   •   Feb 12, 2016 12:41 GMT

A new Rural Planning Review will look to reduce regulatory burdens in support of new homes, jobs and innovation.

The government has launched a planning review which will give rural entrepreneurs and housebuilders in England the opportunity to provide ideas on how the planning system can better support rural life, making it simpler for them to expand their businesses and build much needed new homes.

It will also review the rules for converting agricultural buildings for residential use after the success of the 2014 changes which have seen more than 2,000 agricultural buildings given permission to be converted into much-needed homes.

The Rural Planning Review, jointly published by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is the latest milestone in the delivery of the Government’s Rural Productivity Plan, launched last summer by Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss.

The plan includes investing in education and skills, improving infrastructure and connectivity and simplifying planning laws for rural businesses and communities to help boost the rural economy.

The government is delivering on these objectives, designed to drive up productivity and ensure the countryside becomes an ever more attractive place for people to work, start a business and bring up a family.

Since the launch of the plan, the government is offering a subsidised satellite broadband connection for homes and businesses in remote areas, Regional Air Connectivity Funding for new routes, new Enterprise Zones in smaller towns and rural areas, and the launch of a Call for Evidence to review the current threshold for agricultural buildings to be converted for residential use.

The government are also planning to introduce a broadband Universal Service Obligation by 2020, and are piloting a scheme which delivers 20 hours of free childcare for working parents in rural areas including Northumberland, Staffordshire and Hertfordshire from September 2016.

Commenting on progress under the Rural Productivity Plan, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Our rural areas have huge potential which is why we’re working to further unlock productivity to create a true One Nation economy.

“Our plan will help us create thriving towns and villages, where families can turn disused agricultural buildings into new homes for the next generation and entrepreneurs can launch the latest cutting-edge start-up from an office with a stunning countryside view.”

There are half a million businesses operating in rural areas, with a net internal migration from urban to rural areas, including highly skilled people attracted by the excellent quality of life that rural areas offer.

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