Housing development in rural areas

It has been 2 years since the NPPF came into force but we are still finding that many local authorities are still ignoring its policy content and are relying on old style development plan policies.

This is particularly true of rural village housing schemes where local authorities tend to be resistant to development. The result has been a large number of successful planning appeals that have sought to clarify the interpretations of the NPPF. Some of the key recent interpretations made by Planning Inspectorate include:

  • The aim of the settlement or village boundary is to protect the qualities of the countryside. Consequently every edge of settlement scheme should be considered on its own merits to determine the impact on these qualities.
  • Paragraph 55 of the NPPF only seeks to resist ‘isolated homes’.  Therefore, as long as the proposal is not for an isolated house then there cannot be a policy objection arising from the fact that a site is not in a defined settlement or village.
  • Whilst rural village development tends to encourage car use, small incremental growth would not lead to ‘significant’ car movements and therefore the adverse consequences of the development would not be severe.
  • Additional rural dwellings help to stimulate economic activity during and after construction and provide a social gain by contributing to the provision of decent homes.

We have been greatly encouraged by  recent appeal decisions relating to rural housing schemes. Given this step change in rural planning, we feel that this is an excellent time in which to consider housing development in rural areas.

Plainview Planning has provided a wide range of rural planning consultancy services ranging from barn conversions to edge of village housing developments. If you require assistance with your project, please contact us at