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Welsh Government proposals on planning legislation for second homes must be enforceable says farming union

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The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed aspects of the Welsh Governments’ consultation on planning legislation and policy for second homes and short term holiday lets, but warns that these must be enforceable.

The consultation proposed amendments to the Town and Country Planning Order 1987 to include three separate use classes for primary homes, secondary homes and short-term holiday lets, along with subsequent changes to the Town and Country Planning Order 1995 and primary legislation on how and when planning permission should be required.

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FUW Senior Policy and Communications Officer Gareth Parry said: “The FUW expressed support for three recommendations relating to planning policy from the ‘Second Homes: Developing new policies in Wales’ report last year. We therefore welcome the fact that these proposals are being considered.

“In principle the revised use classes for primary homes, secondary homes and short-term holiday lets make sense, however, the Welsh Government must ensure that the criteria is strict enough to ensure they aren’t open to abuse.

“There also remains a big question mark above how the Welsh Government proposes for Local Authorities to be able to effectively monitor and enforce such criteria.”

The Union was clear in its response that whilst the proposed changes to use classes will allow Local Authorities to better distinguish between such dwellings, they must be underpinned by changes to primary legislation in order to be effective in tackling the issues associated with second homes and short-term holiday lets.

“Amending primary legislation to ensure that it considers the change of use from a primary home to a secondary home or short-term holiday let as a ‘material change of use’ would ensure that such changes between use classes would always require planning permission.

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“While amending Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 would require the passing of a Bill in the Senedd, the attention drawn to the impacts of second homes over the previous two years would suggest that representatives of rural and coastal constituencies would fully support such an amendment,” added Mr Parry.

Although the FUW is opposed to allowing unlimited changes of use between the three classes under permitted development rights, it is in support of providing Local Authorities with the powers to apply Article 4 Directions to specific areas where evidence suggests that permitted development rights would have an impact on the local community and amenity.

“We are also in support of ensuring that Planning Policy Wales takes the prevalence of second homes and short-term holiday lets in a local area into account when considering Local Development Plans, and providing Local Authorities with the option to restrict new homes to be used as primary dwellings.

“While the FUW has responded to the specific proposals set out in the consultation, we look forward to engaging with the Welsh Government as it consults on other recommendations set out in the ‘Second Homes: Developing new policies in Wales’ report and the ‘three pronged approach’ in future,” he said.

(Lead image: FUW)

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