>Q. I have an old house (abandoned or habitable) on our land in Powys and I’m looking to renovate/replace it. Does planning policy allow renovating abandoned dwellings or replacement of habitable dwellings? >Answered by Gerallt Davies, Roger Parry & Partners Planning Consultant and Associate, Welshpool Office >A. Planning Policy in Powys County Council certainly allows the renovation of abandoned dwellings and replacement of habitable dwellings, especially given the re-worded policies in the new Local Development Plan (LDP). >The replacement of habitable dwelling and renovation of abandoned dwelling policies are two policies that have been extremely underutilised by landowners in Powys over the years, and given the re-worded policy in the LDP, this is the time to act to make the most of the value of such assets. >There are a number of old abandoned dwellings in the countryside, which are being left to dilapidate and sometimes used as agricultural buildings. If the dwelling still has the overall appearance of a dwelling, albeit with its roof caved in, planning permission can be achieved to renovate it to its former residential use. Once the building has lost its overall appearance of a dwelling, and is seen as a ruin, you have lost your asset and its worthless. >The old Unitary Development Plan (UDP) restricted any renovation to meet a local need, whereas the new LDP allows a total renovation to an open market dwelling, which significantly adds value to your existing asset. You can then either renovate yourself or sell on virtually as a housing plot. >Associated with this policy is the replacement dwelling policy, which allows you to replace existing habitable dwellings with a new dwelling. In some circumstances you have an old house which is difficult to renovate and extend to meet today’s living standards, when a new replacement dwelling would be cheaper and easier to build with the ability to claim back the VAT with new builds. >With the correct advice from the outset, landowners could turn an existing building into a considerable financial asset for their business. Planning policies also still favour barn conversions and agricultural workers dwellings, but good advice from the outset is vital. >For help or advice on any planning enquiry contact any of Roger Parry & Partners offices: Welshpool: 01938 554499, Oswestry: 01691 655334, Minsterley: 01743 791336.