As a general rule, it is not permitted to build new homes in the open countryside. However, if you have underutilised or redundant agricultural buildings, it’s possible to use your Permitted Development Rights and convert them to residential use.
Commonly known as Class Q, the legislation allows for the conversion of up to 865 sqm of the existing agricultural building to provide a mix of 5 dwellings.
Under the guidelines, it is possible to provide up to 5 new dwellings on a single agricultural unit, which allows for the following in one or more agricultural buildings;
A simple barn conversion of a small brick and corrugated iron barn into an attractive brick and slate dwelling utilising Class Q permitted development.
Some restrictions apply which would prevent using this route, such as if the property is in a very remote location away from a road, Listed or within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Conservation Area.
Any approval will allow for the change of use of the building and some alterations such as replacing roofing and forming new window and door openings. It does not allow for any works that would increase the size of the building such as extensions or porches. A planning application would be required for these additional works.
The extent of works permissible under the Class Q route is somewhat restrictive and whilst it sets a precedent for providing a new house, the approval may not maximise the potential of the site or your finances.
A Class Q Conversion transforms a dilapidated barn into a quirky holiday let near Blandford.
The fallback position provides a route to improve an existing class Q planning consent.
Some buildings are also simply unattractive or too large to make into a beautiful new home through the Class Q route.
Local authorities now accept that following the grant of approval under Class Q, a planning application can be submitted and considered for approval for a completely new residential development. This is in lieu of converting the existing building, referencing the Class Q as a fallback position to make the case the principle has already been established on the site.
There are several distinct advantages to doing this, some of which are;
There is no guarantee a Local Authority will grant approval for a Class Q approval, let alone a subsequent planning approval for a new dwelling.
We are receiving an increasing number of successful approvals which have recognised the legitimate material consideration of the fallback position.
Take a look at our range of Class Q projects within our Agricultural Portfolio. Simply click the filters buttons to view our sub sectors.