Don’t “cock up” your Class Q permitted development rights – the sequel

Don’t “cock up” your Class Q permitted development rights – the sequel

“It is over 8 years since the permitted development rights (PDRs) that allow the conversion of agricultural buildings to dwellings came into force. These were originally under Class MB and are now under Class Q. Readers of our news posts may recall our article 6 years ago that explained that these rights are not available where other PDRs under Class A(a) or Class B(a) (agricultural buildings and operations) have been used to carry out development on the same ‘established agricultural unit’ since 20th March 2013, or within 10 years before the date development under Class Q begins”, says Mark Sanders of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

“Many farmers are still using Class A(a) or Class B(a) PDRs when they wish to put up new buildings or alter or extend existing buildings and these rights can be very useful and provide a quick and flexible way of adding up to 1,000 square metres of additional buildings. However, it is clear from cases that are still coming across our desks that some of those farmers are overlooking the fact that doing so removes their Class Q rights for 10 years. That is a long time in planning policy terms and very few people would be prepared to bet the farm that Class Q PDRs will still exist 10 years hence”, comments Sanders.

Sanders mentions a recent enquiry where a Class Q application had been submitted to provide a new dwelling but was subsequently withdrawn when the planning officer dealing with it had checked the planning history for the farm and seen that a new building had been added using Class A(a) PDRs since March 2013. “That is clearly a waste of time and money as well as being a huge disappointment to the applicants who had clearly thought that Class Q would enable them to provide a home for themselves and their family and secure the succession of the business to the next generation”, adds Sanders.

“The solution is very simple. If a farmer wishes to carry out development that would fall under the Class A(a) or Class B(a) PDRs and does not want to lose their Class Q PDRs for 10 years, they should apply for full planning permission. If they are using an agent or a farm building supplier to deal with the planning application on their behalf, they should instruct them not to use Class A(a) or Class B(a) PDRs”, advises Sanders.

“It is worth mentioning that Class Q PDRs do not apply in National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is therefore currently no reason not to use Class A(a) or Class B(a) PDRs in those locations. There has been some talk about whether the Government may be persuaded to extend Class Q to these areas but, just as no one would bet the farm on Class Q rights being around in 10 years’ time, no one would bet the farm on Class Q being extended into the excluded areas”, concludes Sanders.

For further information please contact Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 212380.

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