Agricultural Permitted Development Rights Consultation
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is currently consulting on a range of changes to the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) with one of the aims being to increase flexibility and remove barriers for converting agricultural buildings to commercial and residential uses.
The GPDO covers a range of permitted development rights, allowing development to take place without the need for full planning permission, or in some instances, requiring a more simplified prior approval application.
Schedule 2, Part 3, Class Q of the GPDO covers ‘Agricultural Buildings to Dwellinghouses’. The existing permitted development rights allow for the following;
- Up to 3 larger homes, to be greater than 100 square metres and within an overall floorspace of 465 square metres; or
- Up to 5 smaller homes each no greater than 100 square metres; or
- Up to 5 homes comprising a mixture of larger and smaller homes, with neither exceeding the thresholds for each type of home.
The proposed changes to the regulations will increase this allowance enabling up to ten dwellings to be created with a maximum floor space of 1000 sqm.
The proposed changes will also introduce the ability for rear extensions to be considered within the prior approval process subject to certain criteria being met. Any created floorspace would be required to fall within the maximum floorspace threshold indicated above.
Article 2(3) land:
Class Q developments could also be considered acceptable on article 2(3) land for the first time. Article 2(3) land includes protected areas such as, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks, the Broads, and conservation areas.
Other proposed amendments include the following:
Agricultural buildings not solely within agricultural use
Agricultural buildings not solely within agricultural use will be considered suitable for conversion under the prior approval process. An example would be a previous agricultural building that has been used for storage.
Former agricultural buildings no longer part of an established agricultural unit
Buildings that were used for agricultural purposes but no longer form part of an established agricultural unit, would currently not meet the criteria for the Class Q prior approval process. The proposed amendment through this consultation would seek to allow for these redundant buildings to be brought back into use as dwellings. The building in question would be defined by its last known use and evidence on this use would be required to be demonstrated.
Allowing change of use of other rural outbuildings to residential
Existing Class Q permitted development rights only allow agricultural buildings to convert to residential use. The new amendment would provide more flexibility by allowing buildings in other rural uses, such as forestry or equestrian, to change use to residential.
Agricultural buildings to a flexible commercial use, through the Class R prior approval process
The existing permitted development rights allow for the change of use of a building from agricultural to a flexible commercial use under Class R, through the prior approval process. The proposed expansion of these rights would allow different types of building to be able to benefit from this process, and thus, create more opportunities for rural diversification.
Agricultural development on units of 5 hectares or more
Under the prior notification process covering agricultural and forestry developments, new buildings or extensions will be permitted up to 1500 sqm, an increase from the current 1000 sqm limit.
Agricultural development on units of less than 5 hectares
Under the prior notification process covering agricultural and forestry developments, buildings and extensions to buildings falling under Part 6 (Agricultural and Forestry developments) will be permitted to increase in floorspace by up to 25%, an increase from the current limit of 20%.
Comments on this consultation can be submitted through the link below to the online survey by the closing date of 25th September 2023.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation, any changes would be brought forward via secondary legislation as an amendment to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, as amended. No timescales have been confirmed as yet for when this could happen.
For further information on this and to discuss any related planning matters please contact our Head of Planning Dan Hewett