Farmers are being frustrated in their attempts to convert old agricultural buildings into much-needed homes in the countryside.
That is according to the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) which says 57 per cent of agricultural-to-residential applications in Herts between January and June this year (33) were refused (19).
Figures were obtained from the Department for Communities and Local Government and it compares to an average refusal rate of 36 per cent across the east.
CLA east regional surveyor Claire Wright said: “We have seen refusal rates soaring past 50 per cent, which only serves to set back the aspirations of young people, retiring farmers, and rural workers who need homes to live in.
“The problem with rural areas is that house prices are on average 22 per cent higher than in urban areas and fewer homes are available.
“Rural landowners want to help ease the major housing crisis we’re experiencing in the countryside, but we consistently find local planning authorities standing in the way of the conversion of agricultural buildings.
“Some farm buildings are clearly not suitable for conversion so it would be unfair to pin all the blame on planning departments, but the high rates of refusal and the small number of completions serves as a wake-up call for government that this policy requires attention.”