INDUSTRY COMMENT – Changes to permitted development rights will mean more rural housing opportunities

Shelley Coffey, Senio Planner, planning consultant, associate director, planning, permitted development rights, class q, agricultural buildingsBy Associate Director, Shelley Coffey

Associate director and member of the planning team, Shelley provides an update on the latest changes to permitted development rights due to come into effect in April 2018.

Following on from the publication of the draft changes to the NPPF last week, which for the first time included a specific section on rural housing, the Government has now confirmed changes to permitted development rights which allow the change of use of redundant agricultural buildings to dwellings. A statement from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on Monday 12th March said that “rural communities will be given more options to convert agricultural buildings into family homes to better meet local housing needs”.

The current ‘Class Q’ provisions allow for the creation of up to three dwrural development, class q, NPPF, permitted development rights, residential development, agricultural buildings, residentdial development, rural diversficationellings on an agricultural unit, if the total floor space does not exceed 450 sqm. This threshold has now been nominally increased to a total of 465 sqm for the creation of what will now be referred to as ‘larger dwellings’. In addition, a separate provision for the creation of up to five ‘smaller dwellings’, with a total floor space each of 100 sqm has also been introduced.

A landowner will be able to combine the two provisions to now deliver potentially up to five dwellings per unit, subject to the individual floor space restrictions. These changes should introduce greater flexibility for landowners to maximise the potential of any redundant buildings and help deliver much needed rural housing. The changes come into effect on 6th April 2018.

We hope that local planning authorities will embrace these changes and the real intent from the Government to help deliver the new homes rural communities need. Since the introduction in 2014 of permitted development rights for the conversion of agricultural buildings to dwellings, the success of such applications across the country has been somewhat of a postcode lottery, with some authorities continuing to defy the clear message from Government and Appeal Inspectors, regarding the correct application of the ‘Class Q’ provisions. Government data suggests the average approval rate is still at only 42 per cent, highlighting the need for landowners to get clear advice on the ‘Class Q’ restrictions, and submit a clear application demonstrating the proposed scheme meets the permitted development criteria.

Rural Solutions have successfully advanced a number of such applications across the country. If you would like to discuss any potential opportunities, please email or you can call us on 01756 796199.

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