Call to relax rules demanding rural ‘farmhouse’ design in countryside

South Ayrshire could benefit from more flexible planning policies, an opposition councillor said.

Call to relax rules demanding rural ‘farmhouse’ design in South Ayrshire countryside iStock

A councillor has asked South Ayrshire Council’s new planning chief to relax rules that demand ‘traditional farmhouse’ designs in rural areas.

Maybole and North Carrick councillor Iain Campbell, made the plea to the recently appointed head of planning, Craig Iles at a meeting of the Service and Performance Panel.

He said “Being a member of the Local Review Body, I have noticed a lot of appeals for housing in rural areas.

“There doesn’t seem to be a distinction from planning officers over rural design compared to urban design. Developers seem to get away with a lot more variation in the design in urban compared to rural areas.

“Consequently, we get a lot more people putting in appeals for housing wanting to build in rural areas.

“Rural areas probably would look a lot better with some nicer houses than the typical houses we’ve had over the past 100 or 150 years.

“If you drive around Scotland and elsewhere, you see many, many lovely looking houses. I think South Ayrshire suffers from not having the same flexibility in the planning process that some other counties in Scotland do.

“Wondering, is there flexibility within South Ayrshire planning department to look differently at rural housing?”

Mr Iles agreed the current policy favoured the traditional farmhouse-style designs.

He continued: “It has always been a challenge to allow a change in design away from that.

“There are modern designs that are perfectly appropriate. However, most urban-style housing brought forward in rural settings can be rather incongruous.

“It is something I would like to have a look at and has been raised by councillors since I arrived. Perhaps we can look at a slightly more relaxed style.

“It is an element that the guidance has been stuck to quite rigidly.”

Councillor Campbell replied: “The traditional farmhouse was probably the eco-friendly house of the day. But I would like to see us be a bit more open minded and save the number of appeals.”

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