Changes to Permitted Development Rights for agricultural sites

Changes to Permitted Development Rights for agricultural sites

Changes to Permitted Development Rights for agricultural sites

On 21st May 2024, The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England) (Amendment) Order 2024 takes effect.

The general view is that land and property owners wishing to diversify, convert or expand agricultural sites, might find more options are now available to them, although some important restrictions are also now in place.

Here’s our summary of some of the more significant changes.

Class Q: Conversion of agricultural buildings for homes

The new version of class Q legislation within the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) allows the following:

Class Q – Converting ‘barns’ to dwellings:

The amendment order sets out an entirely new version of Class Q, permitting the following:

  • Converting a building that forms part of an established agricultural unit (including land within the curtilage) to a dwelling.
  • The rights above now also apply to buildings that were formerly part of an established agricultural unit but are no longer.
  • Extension of the building being converted is now permitted. Albeit limited to a single storey rear extension that does not extend beyond 4 metres, and where there is an existing hard surface.

Previous PD rights concerning the number of dwellings and limits on floorspace have also changed.

  • PD now allows for a maximum of 10 dwellings, up from the previous limit of five.
  • With this change a combined maximum floorspace of 1,000 square meters is allowed. Each dwelling is permitted to be a maximum 150sqm. The previous maximum was 465 square metres for any one building.
Class R – Change of use for Agricultural buildings to flexible commercial use:

The new legislation also makes important changes to permitted change of use for agricultural buildings.

  • The maximum floor area for which Class R applies has doubled from 500 square metres to 1,000 square metres.
  • The range of permitted uses under Class R has increased.
A number of amendments will also apply to Part 6 of the GPDO:
  • An increase to the maximum footprint of permitted agricultural buildings from 1,000 square metres to 1,500 square metres, for agricultural units of 5 hectares or more.

An increase to the maximum footprint of extended agricultural buildings from 1,000 square metres to 1,250 square metres, on agricultural units of between 0.4 and 5 hectares. The permitted increase of a building’s cubic content also increases from 20% to 25% for sites within this range.

Removal of PD for new buildings (and extensions) on a scheduled monument site.

Overall, this seems to be positive news for landowners who are seeking to diversify or who may have struggled to develop their land and buildings in the past.

However, this is not a full list of the changes that come into force on 21st May.

There are there are several other changes and conditions that may be relevant, and some important changes regarding highways and access arrangements under class Q. Prior approval and notification requirements remain in place and continue to apply.

Arrangements that apply to a transition period should also be understood. These may make it more beneficial for landowners to take advantage of previous PD rights. If this is the case, landowners would need to act quickly.

Various exceptions, conditions and limitations may apply to individual sites. It’s therefore important for landowners and developers to seek professional advice. If you need support to ensure the best application of permitted development rights on your land, we can help with a strategy.

To discuss the changes to Permitted Development Rights for agricultural sites, and for professional planning advice, contact our team.

How to get in touch:


t: Cheltenham: 01242 231575 | Gloucester: 01452 527997 | London: 020 3763 8005

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