A productivity planning announcement from the Government could pave the way for easier and quicker planning permission on farms, with rural areas potentially benefitting from more Local Enterprise Zones.
According to the announcement from Chancellor George Osborne via the Treasury, called Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation, farms could have the opportunity to build new starter homes and make changes to permitted development rights for new mobile phone masts on their land. Mr. Osborne also said that the Government was assessing the criteria for changing redundant farm buildings into new homes.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has welcomed the news, saying that the time taken to get planning permission on farmland is an issue raised by many of their members, so anything that speeds up the process and creates work for farm workers would be a good move.
However, there are concerns over the erection of mobile phone masts and the Department for Communities and Local Government, in conjunction with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has launched a consultation to get evidence to support the deployment of mobile infrastructure in all areas. The consultation, which closes on 21 August, also seeks to establish what further improvements should be made to support this deployment.
According to the NFU, the Government believes there is a need for more, taller phone masts in remote areas. This will enable it to reach its target of getting 90 per cent of the UK a mobile signal by 2017 and ensure that people living in rural areas get 4G coverage to help them access broadband from smartphones.
The NFU is also canvassing its members and asking for views on what is good and bad about the existing planning system for getting a mast and how this should be changed. Interested parties should note that their deadline is earlier – 14 August – so that the views of the membership can be fed into the Government consultation.
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