To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the implications of proposed changes in planning regulations of (a) re-using under used or disused property in rural areas, (b) developing rural business centres and (c) new-build for employment purposes in the countryside.
The Government published draft Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 4: 'Planning for Sustainable Economic Development' for consultation in December 2007. The draft PPS asks regional planning bodies and local planning authorities to plan positively and proactively to encourage economic development, in line with the principles of sustainable development.
The draft PPS asks local authorities to encourage new uses for vacant or derelict buildings, including historic buildings in urban and rural areas and is clear that local authorities should support small scale economic development in rural villages, whether it be rural business centres or dedicated new-build, where it provides the most sustainable option.
The Department has received over 300 responses to the consultation and is currently considering these. We also expect to receive shortly the report of the Taylor review into the issues facing rural areas in terms of housing and the economy. The hon. Member for Truro looked at these and other issues, and we will take account of his recommendations as we finalise our policies for sustainable economic development.