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New planning rules for rural communities

The introduction of new planning rules across the UK could "breathe new life" into many rural communities, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has claimed.

New measures targeting the transformation of disused property into residential accommodation have been put forward by DCLG, with changes to planning guidelines helping to reinvigorate many areas that have been hard hit during the economic downturn.

The proposals include refurbishing former retail buildings into new residential homes, as well as the delivery of more banks and building societies for local communities.

Commercial premises will also be transformed into nurseries to boost the provision of childcare facilities and agricultural areas that are no longer fit for purpose will be made available for the construction of new schools.

All of the measures aim to target brownfield sites, meaning the safeguarding of important greenfield land in some of the most beautiful parts of the country will continue.

The measures aim to put "town centres first" and will remove considerable amounts of red tape which in the past may have stifled the provision of new services and homes in areas where space is limited.

Planning minister Nick Boles said: "Removing this barrier will bring more people closer to their town centres, providing a much needed boost to local shops and ensuring we make the most of buildings that are already there for new homes, nurseries and schools this country needs.

"Extending these permitted development rights on brownfield land will benefit all communities - whether in towns or the countryside."

The DCLG is adamant the measures will have a beneficial impact on towns and villages across the country, with extended permitted development rights bringing about faster planning decisions, reduced costs and a much-needed boost to new developments.

It forms part of efforts being made by the government's Future High Streets Taskforce to reinvent town centres up and down the UK, delivering a sustained recovery in local economies and providing greater scope for new projects. 

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