04 Jul Permitted Development: Q&A

The Government has recently announced new permitted development rights to allow the conversion of farm buildings to residential dwellings as part of a simplification of planning laws.

“a three year fixed window of opportunity for rural landowners”

Duncan Hartley, director of planning at Rural Solutions

Planning and development specialist Rural Solutions said while the changes provided good opportunities for farmers looking at conversions, there were no plans for the development rights beyond the next three years.

Duncan Hartley, director of planning at Rural Solutions, said: “This is a three year fixed window of opportunity for rural landowners to develop agricultural buildings. 

“There are no current plans beyond the three years and therefore we advise landowners to seize this opportunity now. There is the chance to develop up to 450 square metres, a very sizeable area, of agricultural buildings on a farm to provide a maximum of three houses on that holding.” 

Q. When did the changes come into effect?

April 6, 2014.

Q. What do the changes allow me to do with my agricultural buildings?

The new permitted development changes will allow the change of use of an agricultural building to a dwelling house. It allows for changes to floor space of up to 450 square metres per agricultural holding, to up to 3 dwellings.

Q. Do the changes apply to any agricultural buildings?

The changes apply to existing agricultural buildings in a sole agricultural use, in connection with a trade or business, as of March 20, 2013, or if the site is not in use on that date, when it was last in use.

For any new agricultural buildings built or brought into an agricultural use after this date, the building must be in agricultural use for at least 10 years before these permitted changes can be applied.

Q. Do the changes apply everywhere?

The changes apply in England only and will not apply in designated areas including National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Conservation Areas.

They do not apply if the land forms part of an Area of Special Scientific Interest (SSSi), a safety hazard area or a military explosives area.

Q. Do the changes apply to Listed Buildings?

No, the changes do not apply to Listed Buildings, or if the site contains a Scheduled Monument.

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