cLASS q barn conversions
The provisions of The General Permitted Development Order (‘GPDO’) outline Permitted Development (PD) rights for agricultural land.
Permitted Development relates to certain types of work that can be carried out without the need to apply for planning permission.
It is possible, via Class Q of the Permitted Development Order, to convert existing agricultural barns into a house/homes without the need for formal planning permission. This opportunity exists in an effort to bring unused redundant buildings into viable use.
The terms defined in the regulation are detailed, technical and require some interpretation. We have attached a link to a useful Guidance Booklet, provided by South Downs National Park Authority, which is a valuable aide for individuals seeking to understand and navigate the regulation.
Some of the key information and top tips from the Booklet are listed below with a link to the full document:
- The starting point for any permitted development under the Order is that the land must already be in use for agricultural purposes.
- On the whole, it is safe to assume that equestrian use is not deemed agricultural.
- In most cases, even though the GDPO provides means to develop without planning, a ‘prior notification’ application to the local authority is often required.
- A Prior Notification contains information to enable the Local Authority to reach a decision as to whether the proposal meets the criteria of the relevant section of the GPDO.
- In order for any proposals to benefit from PD rights, the proposals must be proposed and works must not have started.
- There are restrictions on the minimum size of the parcel of land on which the proposed development would be sited - for any considerations the exact size of your land holding needs to be provided and provisions vary depending on the size of the agricultural holding.
- The test of whether the development is ‘reasonably necessary' is a core test in the GPDO. This dictates that the proposed development is needed to support the agricultural activity in operation.
- In all cases, Permitted Development rights provided under the GPDO do not obviate the need to obtain other consents e.g. A Listed Building.
The Guidance Booklet provided by the South Downs National Park Authority can be viewed in full at
For Class Q Barn Conversions:
- The barn must have been in agricultural use on 20 March 2013, (or in agricultural use within 10 years before applying for the change of use – whichever is the lesser)
- If it has been built after 20 March 2013, it needs to have been in agricultural use for 10 years (only relevant after 2023)
- It is possible to convert a Barn up to 5 dwellings per established agricultural unit (or farm)
- Permission from any current agricultural tenants is required and permission cannot be granted if a tenancy has been terminated within 1 year unless agreed in writing it is no longer needed for agricultural uses.
- The latest 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’. The distinction between the two is not always clear and therefore it is advisable to seek professional advice in order to get a better understanding of the likely prospects for success.
The Order is available in full at www.legislation.gov.uk