Agricultural to residential change of use
Permitted development rights update

Agricultural to residential change of use

“In response to the inconsistent approach of Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to the interpretation and application of the Permitted Development Rights (PDRs) that now apply to the change of use of some agricultural buildings to residential use, the Government has recently published some welcome guidance”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

Dinnis explains, the guidance states that LPAs should work on the assumption that the PDRs grant permission subject only to prior approval and that an agricultural building that is situated in a location when planning permission would not normally be granted is not a sufficient reason for refusing an application.

The guidance also provides clarification that the PDRs do not apply a test in relation to the sustainability of the location and that the three dwelling threshold does not include existing residential dwellings within an established agricultural unit unless they were also created by the use of the PDRs.

Acorn RPC’s research shows that approximately 70% of applications under the PDRs were turned down in the South West region last year, says Dinnis and notes the high refusal rate within some LPAs is linked to the fact that they have been considering PDRs proposals alongside the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in the same way as they did prior to the introduction of the PDRs.  The NPPF includes a presumption against development of isolated agricultural buildings except in certain particular circumstances.

“The guidance makes it clear that the NPPF presumption does not apply to applications under the PDRs and it therefore provides an opportunity for farmers to revisit proposals that have been refused where the grounds for refusal are founded on sustainability issues; the incorrect application of the three dwelling rule or an incorrect assessment against the NPPF,” concludes Dinnis.

For further advice on agricultural to residential change of use PDRs and the new guidance, please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052 or briandinnis@acornrpc.co.uk.  Brian is a qualified Chartered Surveyor and associate member of the Royal Town and Planning Institute with extensive knowledge of rural planning.

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