National park airs concerns about new planning rules
NORTHUMBERLAND National Park Authority has urged the government to ensure new planning freedoms being introduced this spring do not undermine local efforts to improve the prospects of local residents and businesses.
Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, confirmed in January that the Government would go ahead with plans to let offices be changed to residential use without a planning application.
The initiative is aimed at encouraging out of date office stock in non-prime urban areas to be brought into more productive use as a source of new homes.
However, there is a risk that businesses premises in rural locations could be lost if building owners succumb to the temptation of the higher land values that residential uses attract.
Tammy Adams, the park’s head of planning and communities, said: “Housing stock in the national park is limited, and a number of houses have been lost over time to use as second homes.
“This is not good for thriving communities. Inflated house prices mean that owning a home in the national park is beyond the reach of many local people.
“If the new freedoms are brought in, the authority would have no way of ensuring any new homes created met a local need.”
Chief executive Tony Gates added: “We are concerned that these changes could result in us losing important existing business space.
“We await with hope a confirmation that the Government understands the needs of our communities.”
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Weather for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North