The change of use of agricultural buildings to residential use is permitted under Class Q of the General Permitted Development (England) Order 2015.  The updated Class Q permitted development right, as published on 15th April 2015, allow development consisting of—

(a) a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use as an agricultural building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order; and

(b) building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building referred to in paragraph (a) to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of that Schedule.

What has been less well publicised is the changes to the guidance that underpin the application of the permitted development right when applications for prior notification of a change of use are determined by local authorities.  Importantly, the Government clarified earlier this year that the right does not apply a test in relation to sustainability of location.  This is deliberate as the right recognises that many agricultural buildings will not be in village settlements and may not be able to rely on public transport for their daily needs.  Thus, a number of applications for prior approval have been wrongly turned down by Councils across the country on the grounds that the normal application of planning policy would be likely to exclude residential development in such remote, countryside locations.

If you have an agricultural building that may be suitable for residential conversion, or you have previously been refused prior approval or planning permission for conversion by your local authority, now may be a great time to look at making a new application.

The Carver Knowles Planning Team has the expertise and experience to put forward a persuasive case for approval and ensure that your application is considered in the best possible light.  For instance, we can advise you as to the extent of the building works that are allowed under the permitted change to residential use.

The permitted development right assumes that the agricultural building is capable of functioning as a dwelling.  However, it recognises that for the building to function as a dwelling some building operations which would affect the external appearance of the building, which would otherwise require planning permission, should be permitted.

Please contact one of the planning team at Carver Knowles if you require further information or assistance.