§ Lord Wakefield of Kendal
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether, in view of the need to create employment in the national parks and for conservation purposes, encouragement will be given for the conversion of barns no longer required for occupation and use by animals, so that they may be occupied and used by people instead of such buildings becoming ruins and an eyesore in the countryside.
§ The Earl of Avon
The Government is encouraging new uses for redundant agricultural buildings both in the National Parks and elsewhere. The Development Commission, and the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas, are funding and administering projects for the conversion of redundant farm buildings for industrial use. In 1980–81, CoSIRA received approval to spend some £125,000 on conversion projects, and they are also able to offer advisory, credit and training facilities.
As regards control of development, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has already in Circular 22/80 asked local authorities to grant permission for the establishment of small businesses in redundant buildings, including farm buildings, unless there are specific and convincing planning objections. He would expect a similar approach towards proposals to convert such buildings to dwellings.