The Government recently announced changes to the Class Q permitted development legislation which allows for the conversion of agricultural buildings to residential property without the need for planning permission. The updated legislation came into force last Friday.
Until now the legislation has allowed for the conversion of up to 450 sq m of agricultural building floorspace to a maximum of three dwellings. The new amendments, confirm that the thresholds have now been increased so that it will be possible to convert agricultural floorspace to create one of three alternatives.
The alternatives include up to three larger homes, with a combined maximum floorspace of 465 sq m; up to five smaller homes (each less than 100 sq m); and a mix of both, with a total of no more than five homes, of which no more than three may be larger homes.
For example, for new conversions it would now be possible to have:
- One larger house of 465 sq m plus four smaller houses of up to 100 sq m each (total developed area equals 865 sq m)
- Two larger houses of say 232 sq m each, plus three smaller houses of up to 100 sq m each (total developed area equals 765 sq m)
- Three larger houses of say 155 sq m each, plus two smaller houses of up to 100 sq m each (total developed area equals 665 sq m)
Maria Boyce, associate director in the planning team at Savills in Yorkshire, said: “This announcement provides a clear indication that the Government is putting its support behind Class Q as a way of boosting housing supply in rural areas which is in line with the proposed changes to the revised NPPF due to be published in the summer.”
The announcement follows further changes to Government guidance in respect of Class Q permitted development rights, which confirmed that there is no longer a specific requirement for a building to be structurally strong enough to take the loading that comes with the works required to convert it.
“This suggests an acceptance that structural reinforcement may be required to enable a barn conversion such as providing a replacement roof”, adds Maria. “In addition, any interior works, such as introducing a new floor mezzanine, do not constitute development so local planning authorities may not refuse proposals due to the extent of internal work involved, even if it involves new structural elements.”
“The revised guidance states that the test of whether a proposal is acceptable is whether it can reasonably be described as a ‘conversion’ or whether it crosses the line into a ‘rebuild’. There remains some ambiguity over the point at which a ‘conversion’ becomes a ‘rebuild’ so it is recommended that professional advice is sought to get a better understanding of the likely prospects for success in each case.”
“Those who have previously been refused prior approval by their local council are advised to review the reasons given as they may well be successful under this revised guidance. Likewise, for anyone who has not yet looked at the opportunity to convert their buildings, now is an excellent time to do so.”