Disused Farm Buildings could be used for Affordable Housing

publication date: Oct 29, 2010
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author/source: Kate Faulkner, Designs on Property and Author of Which? Property Books
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Disused Farm Buildings could be used for Affordable Housing


Councils should look to amend their existing planning policies to make it easier for disused farm buildings to be converted into affordable homes


According to Communities Minister Andrew Stunell "Councils should look to amend their existing planning policies to make it easier for disused farm buildings to be converted into affordable homes".

The difficulty is that the last Conservative government effectively 'scrapped' council homes in rural villages when they decided to sell off stock in the late 1980s. Now the government has no money to build affordable homes and has cut the budget by 50%, it is looking to local farmers to come to the country's rescue!

According to Communities, "The average house price in rural England has more than doubled over the past decade to over £250,000, but the average salary is still £21,000". Oddly enough, most homes have doubled in price over the last decade, whether they are in cities or in rural areas! However, it is a serious issue that social housing waiting lists in rural areas has risen to 750,000.

Perhaps the Conservatives (sorry Coalition) are now regretting helping to drive house prices so high, partly thanks to their policy of 'scrapping' council houses all those years ago. Now they have realised the error of their ways, Mr Stunell has called on farmers to identify disused farm buildings that could be converted into new affordable homes for local people, and for councils to look favourably on their planning applications.

Mr Stunell says "As more young people are unable to afford to live in rural areas and village schools, shops and pubs struggle to survive, farmers are ideally placed to help bring the community together to help reverse this trend."

It's a great idea and I firmly support it, the only problem is that locals probably won't. Few villages want or even understand the concept of affordable homes and in mine when we received a planning application for them, the locals hit the roof, claiming the council would take 'trouble makers' from nearby towns and export them to our village!

So, a good policy, great if the Coalition can pursuade local councils to support farmers. However, perhaps a policy that is conflicts with the governments 'localism' policy which requires local villagers support to be able to build any homes. 

If you are keen to convert a farm building or outhouse into a home, Contact Us.

 


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