This year an amendment to the General Permitted Development Order 2018 came into effect, making significant changes to Class Q rules. Class Q allows the conversion of agricultural buildings to dwelling houses.

These changes have allowed an increase in the number of dwellings and the potential floor space, giving landowners greater potential for conversion of agricultural buildings. Now conversions can be for:

  • Up to five “smaller homes” – with a maximum floor space of 100sqm each
  • Up to three “larger homes” – with a maximum net floor space of 465sqm
  • A mixture of both “smaller” and “larger homes” – comprising of no more than three “larger homes”

This will allow land owners to make use of a wider range of agricultural buildings, for example splitting larger barns into several smaller dwellings.

The assessment of the building and the scope of works which can be carried out under Class Q permitted development have also changed. Firstly, while a building must be structurally sound, reinforcement works can be conducted to enable the conversion. Secondly further works to the interior of the building are also permitted, allowing applications to include mezzanines and new floors.

These revisions provide landowners with wider options for development of redundant agricultural buildings. If you have a redundant agricultural building or you have previously been refused prior approval these new revisions may allow you make a successful application.

Some of the criteria of the original Class Q remain, such as:

  • The building must have been in agricultural use on the 20th March 2013
  • It must not be under an agricultural tenancy
  • It must not have been under an agricultural tenancy in the year prior to planning application, unless written statements from both landlord and tenant can be produced stating that the building is no longer required for agricultural purposes
  • The site cannot be:
    • a site of special scientific interest;
    • a safety hazard area;
    • a military explosives storage area;
    • a scheduled monument
    • the building is a listed building

This year Carver Knowles have made multiple successful Class Q applications across the Three Counties area and beyond. These applications include the conversions of:

  • a piggery
  • veal rearing unit
  • sheep housing
  • hay and machinery storage barns

If you have an agricultural building you think may be suitable for conversion and would like more information on how to apply for a Class Q then please call Aislyn on 01684 853407 or email