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GB3  Re-Use of Buildings in the Green Belt  Policy

The conversion or change of use of buildings in the Green Belt will be permitted, provided that:

(i) the proposal does not have a materially greater impact than the present use on the openness of the Green Belt and the purposes of including land within it;

(ii) the proposal does not involve extensive external storage, extensive hardstanding, vehicle parking, intrusive boundary walling, fencing, or introduce intrusive domestic elements, particularly by the creation of a residential curtilage;

(iii) the buildings are of permanent and substantial construction, and are capable of conversion without major or complete reconstruction;

(iv) the form, bulk and general design of the buildings are in keeping with their surroundings;

(v) the proposed use can be adequately serviced in terms of access;

(vi) the proposed use will not in itself, or through likely traffic generation, have a detrimental effect on the appearance or quiet enjoyment of the surrounding area.

When granting consent for the non-agricultural re-use of an agricultural building in the Green Belt, the Local Planning Authority may impose a condition withdrawing permitted development rights for new agricultural development where it is necessary to prevent the proliferation of agricultural buildings.

If the existing building is a tenanted agricultural building the Local Planning Authority will take into consideration the contribution of the building to the viability of local agriculture.

If the existing building has a detrimental impact on the landscape in terms of visual amenity, the Local Planning Authority will, in connection with any proposed structural changes, impose conditions to secure an improvement in the external appearance of the building.

Reasoned justification :

7.16 The re-use of buildings in the Green Belt is given particular importance in view of recent changes in agriculture, which have led farmers to consider diversifying from their original farming practices.

7.17 Certain buildings in the Green Belt, such as barns, may no longer be required for their original purpose, but may be suitable for conversion to provide small-scale accommodation for business use, tourist activities such as interpretative centres, craft centres or individual residences.

7.18 The best way of preserving the true character of an agricultural building is to keep it in its original use. In determining whether buildings in the Green Belt are no longer required for their former use, the Local Planning Authority will consider any relevant change in the circumstances of the buildings which the owner considers makes them inappropriate for agricultural use. In particular, the Local Planning Authority will carefully consider proposals for the re-use of buildings within the Green Belt erected under permitted development rights for agriculture. If such a proposal is received, the Local Planning Authority may impose a condition on the permission withdrawing these rights for new farm buildings in respect of that particular unit or holding.

7.19 If the buildings can no longer be used for agriculture, then a use that does the least damage to their physical fabric and surroundings is the most appropriate. Very often this will be a non-residential use, as this often allows for fewer changes to the fabric of the building and avoids the domestic appearance of gardens and washing lines associated with residential conversions. Even so, appropriate re-uses should minimise demands for additional infrastructure, for example for roads and sewerage. Further guidance on conversion is contained in Supplementary Planning Guidance Note 15.