“From time to time, cases come across our desks that remind us that carrying out development under permitted development rights is not without risk. We have had a recent instruction that illustrates the risks”, says Bella Pyne of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
“We were contacted by a developer client to carry out pre-purchase due diligence in respect of an agricultural building that had been granted prior approval under Class Q for conversion to a dwelling. The prior approval process related to considering transport and highways impacts; noise impacts; contamination risks; flooding risks; whether the location or siting of the building made it impractical or undesirable for it to change use; design or external appearance; and the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms. In addition, the process allows a Local Planning Authority (LPA) to refuse prior approval if development does not comply with any of the limitations that apply to Class Q.
It was clear from the planning history that the building had been part of an established agricultural unit that included other buildings that had been granted approval and developed under Class Q. On investigation, including the recently approved dwelling, four larger dwellings had been approved on the unit. The cumulative floor area of these dwellings was more than 900 square metres. It is, however, a requirement under Class Q that the number or larger dwellings cannot exceed three and the cumulative floorspace of larger units cannot exceed 465 square metres.
After contacting the LPA about its decision notice, we were informed that if the other Class Q developments had commenced, then the development of the fourth dwelling that had been granted prior approval would not be permitted development and, therefore, the decision notice could not be relied on”, explains Pyne
“This case shows that, before proceeding with a development under Class Q, it is important to check that no events have occurred before or after the grant of a prior approval that would prevent it from being permitted development. If there is any doubt, the formal process to establish whether it would be lawful to go ahead with a development under a prior approval would be to apply for a certificate of lawfulness”, advises Pyne.
For further information please contact Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 212380