The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has recently published a response to its 2016 Rural Planning Review.
The document makes it clear that the government is about to consult on a new permitted development right regarding the conversion of agricultural barns. This new right would be in addition to the ‘Class Q’ right that allows for up to 3 dwellings and a maximum floorspace of 450 square metres. The new right would allow conversion of an agricultural building of up to 750 square metres, for a maximum of five new dwellings, each with a floorspace up to 150 square metres.
It is our understanding that anyone wishing to create a single dwelling larger than 150 square metres will still be able to under Class Q, but the new right would allow for a greater number of smaller dwellings. The response to the Rural Planning Review also indicates that DCLG would like to to increase the ‘Class Q’ threshold to 465 square metres from 450 metres. The rationale for this is that barns of up to 465 square metres can be built using permitted development rights on larger holdings, and the Government wants to make this consistent. However, at the moment, any such barns built since class Q has been in place can only be converted once they have been in place for 10 years (and used for agricultural purposes). It remains to be seen if this will change.
Finally, we also understand that the Planning Practice Guidance may well be revised again to clarify what is meant by ‘reasonably necessary’ building work to convert barns to dwellings under Class Q.