Waveney Local Plan

Conversion and Replacement of Rural Buildings for Employment Use

8.69 The overall spatial strategy of this Local Plan seeks to support and enhance the rural areas of the District and allocates more housing to the villages of the District than previous Local Plans have. In addition to agriculture there are a limited number of employment premises in the countryside in Waveney which help support the rural economy. Examples include the large 2 Sisters Food Group factory near Flixton, Becks Green between Bungay and Halesworth and Wren Business Centre on the edge of Wrentham. The National Planning Policy Framework encourages economic growth in rural areas and states that Local Plans should support growth and expansion of all types of business through conversion and new buildings and promoting the diversification of agriculture.

8.70 Policy WLP8.13 on new employment development will allow new development in rural areas where existing employment areas are defined, such as the examples above. Furthermore, Neighbourhood Plans can specifically allocate land for employment uses. To further support employment development in the rural areas, Policy WLP8.14 allows for the conversion, and in some circumstances the replacement of buildings in the Countryside to employment use. There is a large stock of farm and other buildings in the countryside. Conversion and replacement of rural buildings allows new employment development to take place without the need to develop greenfield land which could potentially have a negative impact on the character of the countryside and rural villages. 

Policy WLP8.14 - Conversion and Replacement of Rural Buildings for Employment Use

The conversion of rural buildings to employment use falling within uses classes B1, B2 and B8 will be permitted where:

  • There is good access to the strategic road network or would not generate significant traffic movements;
  • The proposal would not conflict with neighbouring uses; and
  • The proposal reflects the form and character of the existing building.

The replacement of rural buildings to employment use falling within uses classes B1, B2 and B8 will be permitted where:

  • The proposal is of a similar size and scale to the building that is being replaced;
  • There is good access to the strategic road network or would not generate significant traffic movements;
  • The proposal would not conflict with neighbouring uses;
  • The building to be replaced is of permanent design and construction; and
  • The proposal will result in a significant environmental gain in terms of improvements to visual amenity, landscape impact, pollution prevention or the setting of historic assets