INDUSTRY COMMENT: USING PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS TO SUPPORT YOUR LEISURE AND TOURISM DIVERSIFICATION

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INDUSTRY COMMENT: USING PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS TO SUPPORT YOUR LEISURE AND TOURISM DIVERSIFICATION

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The introduction in 2014 of ‘Class Q’ Permitted Development (PD) rights with the intention to boost rural housing delivery are well reported.

It is perhaps less known that prior to this in 2013, PD rights now known as ‘Class R’ rights were introduced to allow buildings to move into a ‘Flexible Commercial Use’. This is an extremely useful tool which can provide an opportunity for farmers to diversify into leisure and tourism opportunities, or support local operators looking for a rural base for such activities.

The rights allow up to 500 square metres of floor space to be changed to an alternative use including leisure and tourism uses such as shops, restaurants and cafes, hotels and leisure venues, in addition to more general businesses uses (offices, storage etc). What’s more, the space can be subsequently changed again to another of these uses, allowing such buildings to be used in flexible and innovative ways, perhaps to support seasonal businesses or react to local demand. 

Unlike the case with Class Q residential conversions, Class R uses can be undertaken in protected areas including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, allowing for businesses to be developed to support established tourism hotpots or leisure activities where planning permission might not ordinarily be granted.

Examples of potential opportunities could include farm shops, cafes on cycling or walking trails, boutique hotels or guest houses in a national park, or small wedding or party venues. 

Class R rights only allow for the ‘Change of Use’ of the building and not any external physical alteration which may require planning permission, but with the principle of the use established under a Prior Notification process, a subsequent planning application could secure permission for necessary physical changes.

If you would like to discuss whether Class R PD rights may help in your diversification or business plans, please contact us today for further information.

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