We are deeply concerned to learn of the Government’s plans to rip up the planning protections that keep our national parks beautiful by allowing permitted development rights for conversions of barns and other rural buildings. The Campaign for National Parks has now sent a letter, signed by FSD as well as other NP Societies, to Michael Gove expressing this concern. Read that letter here:
SIR – We are deeply concerned to learn of the Government’s plans to rip up the planning protections that keep our national parks beautiful by allowing permitted development rights for conversions of barns and other rural buildings.
National parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty are our finest landscapes, and even small changes can have a disproportionate impact in these places. If these proposals go ahead, they will lead to a free-for-all on the development of isolated residential units in unsustainable locations without the supporting infrastructure, and could add significant pressures in terms of water pollution and traffic.
Where once there was a field barn standing isolated in a hay meadow, there will be a pocket of suburbia, and this will be repeated throughout the landscape, creating sprawl and spoiling everyone’s enjoyment of nature, open space and tranquillity.
We recognise the need to provide more affordable housing across the country, but residential barn conversions in remote places like the Yorkshire Dales National Park would do nothing to help and would instead cause irreparable damage to our fragile countryside.
National parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty are living landscapes that must adapt over time, and the current approach to planning does a difficult job well in balancing progress with protection. The Government should shut the barn door on these disastrous proposals before the horse bolts.
What the Friends of the South Downs Do
We have a Planning and Conservation Committee whose primary objective is to influence the decisions made so that the beauty, amenity and tranquillity of the South Downs is either conserved or sustainably enhanced for public benefit.
To achieve this, our role is to consider planning applications that are made either within or close to the National Park boundary. This is done through a team of Volunteer District Officers, each covering a specific ‘District’ within the Park. Each Officer inspects new planning applications that have been made in their District to assess the likely impact. If considered necessary, a response to an application is submitted to either the National Park Planning Authority or the Local Planning Authority to whom planning decisions have been delegated. A response may set out our concerns including an objection, provide constructive comments and observations or we may present written support for an application on the basis that the Society considers that it will meet National Park purposes.
Would you like to join us as a member to support our work or volunteer with us? Get in touch today!