Planning Policy Statement 7: “Sustainable Development in Rural Areas” (PPS7) sets out a supportive approach to the re-use of buildings in the countryside where this would meet sustainable development objectives. Conversion for economic development uses is preferred but residential conversions may also be acceptable. Isolated new houses in the countryside will require special justification for planning permission to be granted but this may be provided if accommodation is needed, for example, to enable agricultural, forestry or other workers to live at or in the vicinity of their place of work.
Any dwellings will count as new housing for the purposes of Planning Policy Statement 3 “Housing” (PPS3). PPS3 highlights the need for local authorities to plan for the provision of market and affordable housing in rural areas that contributes to the creation and maintenance of sustainable rural communities in market towns and villages. It also sets out how local authorities in rural areas should consider allocating and releasing sites solely for affordable housing, including using a rural exception site policy.
It is for local planning authorities to determine planning applications, such as those for the development of disused or underused farm buildings for housing, in accordance with the statutory development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.