“Over the years, a number of farmers will have diversified their businesses by converting redundant buildings to offices and other business uses. In some of those cases the preferred option would have been to convert the buildings to residential use if planning permission had been available. Following the extension of permitted development rights that came into force on 6 April 2016, residential conversion of more buildings that are currently in business use will now be possible”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
Dinnis explains that permitted development have already been introduced to allow the conversion of offices to residential use. He says that those rights were originally subject to what is known as a “sunset clause” meaning that they would not be available after 30 May 2016 but that the changes made on 6 April have removed the sunset clause and made the rights permanent. Dinnis says that that means that any works under the rights can be completed within three years of the grant of the permission even if the permission gives a different date.
The other change was the introduction of a new class of temporary permitted development rights to allow the change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use falling within Class B1(c) (light industrial) to residential use. This right applies to buildings that were used solely for a light industrial use on 19th March 2014 or, in the case of a building which was in use before that date but was not in use on that date, when it was last in use. The permitted development rights (Class PA) will apply between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2020.
“Although Class PA rights allow a change of use, they do not cover any alterations to the external appearance of a building. It would therefore be prudent for anyone considering making use of the new Class PA rights to look at what alterations may be necessary now and to undertake that work within the current planning rules before making an application. The 1 October 2017 commencement date for Class PA rights provides plenty of time to do that”, concludes Dinnis.
For advice on rural planning matters please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Brian is a Chartered Surveyor and an associate member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.