The Government has suggested that councils in rural areas consider changing their planning policies to allow unused farm buildings to be converted to use for residential purposes, rather than insisting that they only be used as farm buildings.
This idea is part of the 'Home on the Farm' scheme, the aim of which is to turn unused farm buildings into affordable housing. It is hoped that this will help young families to remain in their local communities rather than having to move to cities to find housing, thus helping to support local economies in rural areas.
The scheme was the idea of Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, and has already been supported by South Lakeland District Council. The Government now hopes to adopt the scheme nationally, and has provided an outline of it in its response to the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee's report into farming in England's upland areas.