The lowdown on permitted development rights

Jill Scrivener and Barry Davies, of the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants’ rural planning sector, highlight aspects of permitted development rights (PDRs) that farmers may encounter.

Class R

A much-forgotten provision allowing change of use from an agricultural building to a flexible commercial use – for example, shops, financial and professional services, restaurants/cafes, business, storage or distribution, hotels or assembly and leisure:

  • The building can be within a National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or green belt
  • There are no restrictions on the structure of the building incorporated within Class R which allows for the change of use, but a full planning application is needed for the works to convert to the new use
  • The building has to be used solely for an agricultural use as part of an established agricultural unit on 3 July 2012
  • You can still benefit from Class R if you have implemented your Part 6 Agricultural Development PDRs since 3 July 2012
  • The cumulative floor space of the building must not exceed 500sq m.
  • The building must not be listed or a scheduled monument.

See also: Business Clinic – can I challenge barn conversion planning refusal?

Class Q

The opportunity to convert an agricultural building to a dwelling house (certain restrictions apply).  

Many local planning authorities are taking a stringent line on these applications in light of the recent High Court “Hibbitt” case, which effectively challenged the change of use as to what amounted to a “conversion” or a “rebuild” as part of the permitted development.

Class O

Farmers with buildings that have permission for B1 office use they may have PDRs to change use to a residential dwelling house.

BIAC’s national rural planning conference is on 5 October at the Williams Conference Centre, Oxfordshire. For more information telephone 01275 375 559