Barn Conversion Proposals Threaten National Parks

We strongly oppose the proposals to relax planning rules for the conversion of existing agricultural buildings, especially barns, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. With its hundreds of field barns making a unique contribution to the special and historic landscapes of the national park, these proposals would inevitably negatively impact sustainability objectives and have an adverse impact on the Yorkshire Dales, on the verge of the 70th year of designation as a national park. Our view is that these proposals would overturn years of good policy making in the Dales, do little to conserve these unique features of Dales cultural heritage, and undermine efforts to restrict barn conversions to creating housing for local people.

We are a co-signatory with 13 others to a letter from Campaign for National Parks (CNP) to Rt Hon Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This letter (below) sets out the strong concerns to these proposals to remove planning protections in Protected Landscapes.

Letter to Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities:

“We were deeply disappointed to learn of the Government’s plans to extend the permitted development rights for converting agricultural and other rural buildings to residential use to Protected Landscapes (National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs)). There is a long-established practice of not applying certain permitted development rights in these areas in line with national planning policy which emphasises the importance of protecting these areas from inappropriate development.

We campaigned to secure the exemption for National Parks and AONBs and welcomed this exemption when the rights for barn conversions were first introduced in 2014. The case for not applying these and other rights in these areas is even stronger now than it was then. Indeed, the Glover Review of Designated Landscapes, which you commissioned when at Defra, called for a review of the current system of Permitted Development Rights with a view to potentially identifying further rights to be added to the exemptions list. What Government is proposing now is directly contrary to this and would have disastrous consequences across Protected Landscapes…”

You can download and read the full letter below: