National Parks to be exempt from new barn conversion proposals


Thank you for listening, Mr Boles: Campaigners’ reaction to decision on barn conversions

Campaign for National Parks has welcomed today’s announcement that National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are to be exempt from proposals to allow barn conversions without planning permission by thanking the Planning Minister, Nick Boles, for listening to their concerns.

Reacting to the announcement, Julian Woolford, Chief Executive of the Campaign for National Parks said:

“We’re delighted that the Planning Minister has listened to the arguments we made and has decided to exempt National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty from these proposals. This demonstrates that the Government is standing by their commitments to protect National Parks and has recognised the importance of treating these special areas differently under planning policy. We recognise that National Parks are living, working landscapes and fully support the appropriate change of use of old buildings. Today’s announcement means that National Park Authorities can continue to ensure this happens in a managed way through the existing planning system.”

The charity has been campaigning hard against these changes since they were first proposed last summer and in January, they sent an open letter to Nick Boles, signed by nine other organisations. This highlighted the deep concerns about the unintended consequences of allowing uncontrolled development and the damage this would do to the natural beauty and special qualities of National Parks. The Campaign for National Parks has been arguing that the changes should not be introduced at all, but if they are then they should definitely not apply in National Parks and has raised these concerns at meetings with both Nick Boles and Lord de Mauley, the Minister responsible for National Parks. A number of Conservative MPs had also called for National Parks to be exempt, including former National Parks Minister Richard Benyon.


For enquiries regarding this press release, please contact Ruth Bradshaw at the Campaign for National Parks. Email:, Tel:  07949 665 023.

Notes for Editors:

The Government’s announcement is included in a written ministerial statement on local planning from Planning Minister, Nick Boles.

The Campaign for National Parks is the only national, voluntary sector organisation campaigning to protect and promote the 13 National Parks of England and Wales. Established for over 75 years, it is an umbrella of nearly 50 environmental and amenity organisations, and aims to give the voluntary sector a shared vision and voice on all National Park issues. Read the Campaign for National Parks’ response to the consultation.

The open letter to Nick Boles was signed by the Campaign for National Parks and all nine of the National Park Societies in England (Broads Society, Dartmoor Preservation Association, Exmoor Society, Friends of the Lake District, Friends of the Peak District, New Forest Association, North York Moors Association, South Downs Society and the Yorkshire Dales Society). National Park Societies are independent voluntary organisations whose members help to look after the National Parks. Read the open letter to Nick Boles.