Peak District National Parks Authority is to take on a planning manager to cope with changes to the planning system following the government's relaxation of change-of-use restrictions, and to tackle a rise in applications for renewable energy schemes.
The new recruit would handle the southern half of the park covering an area of a 250 square miles and head up a team of five, according to director of planning John Scott.
“Last May the government relaxed change-of-use restrictions on turning offices in to houses and we were unsuccessful in applying for an exemption,” he said.
“The new recruit will look at these kind of applications. Parts of the area such as Bakewell are in danger of losing office space in an area with little potential to replace them.
“We were successful in resisting plans to relax rules on turning agricultural buildings into homes, but the government said it expected us to take a 'positive' approach. The new postholder will look at how we respond.
“Finally, the south part of the park is the focus of applications for wind turbines. We have to find a balance between being a green planning authority and encouraging renewable energy and accommodating wind farms in the landscape.”
Scott added: “We are trying to make sure we have a vibrant community – we are not about preserving the place in aspic. Our primary duty is to preserve and enhance the landscape but to do it in ways that allow the space to live and offer a good mix between housing and economy.”
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