Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19

Conversion of rural buildings

10.3 An important consideration for the rural economy and rural diversification is the reuse of redundant buildings. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that planning authorities should support the expansion of all types of business and enterprise in rural areas through the conversion of existing buildings.

10.4 Such conversions might be particularly desirable where buildings are listed, or have other landscape value, and their long-term retention may be sought for these reasons.

10.5 Disused rural buildings may hold species such as bats or barn owls, protected by the Wildlife and Conservation Act 1981 and other legislation. The conversion of such buildings should make provision for their continued use by protected species which are present. If this is not possible, mitigation should be provided nearby.

Policy E16 - Conversion of rural buildings for economic development purposes

Where it can be demonstrated that the building is not needed for agricultural use the conversion of rural buildings to other uses for economic development purposes will be permitted where all the following criteria are met:

1) Their form, bulk and general design are in keeping with the character of the surrounding countryside.

2) The proposed use is acceptable in terms of its impact on the surrounding area and the local highway network.

3) It can be demonstrated through a structural survey that the building is capable of conversion.

4) Any alterations associated with the conversion would not be detrimental to the distinctive character of the building (or its setting), its historic fabric or features.

5) If the building forms part of a complex of agricultural or industrial buildings, a comprehensive strategy is put forward which shows the effects on the use of the remaining complex, and on any listed buildings and their settings.

6) Where the building currently contains protected species, mitigation should be provided.