Class Q development

Class Q development

“Refusals of applications under the Class Q permitted development right that allows the change of use of some agricultural buildings to residential use often cite the case of Hibbitt v. SSCLG [2016] EWHC 2853 (Admin) which remains the lead case for local planning authorities (LPAs) when they consider that the works that are necessary to make a building function as a dwelling go beyond the works permitted under Class Q”, reports Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

“The Hibbitt case was in respect of an agricultural building with minimal cladding and the planning inspector, whose decision was upheld by the court, decided that the construction of all four external walls would have resulted in a re-build and not a conversion. Ever since the court decision in November 2016, LPAs have used it to justify refusing Class Q applications where extensive works, such as constructing new walls, are needed to enable the building to function as a dwelling”, advises Dinnis.

“We have come across a recent decision of an LPA in respect of an agricultural building where Class Q consent had been refused on two previous occasions, including on appeal, on the grounds that none of the elevations were clad and, following the Hibbitt case, the LPA and the planning inspector decided that the works necessary to make it function as a dwelling, went beyond conversion. In this case, which was approved in August 2020, the applicant had obtained and implemented a separate planning consent to reroof the building in natural slate and to instal external cladding after the earlier refusals and before making the new Class Q application”, explains Dinnis.

“Although the works to re-roof and install external cladding had not been completed, the LPA considered that the fact that the planning consent had been implemented, and could therefore be carried out regardless of the outcome of the Class Q application, meant that there had been a material change in circumstances since the previous refusal and approved the new Class Q application. In its reasoning, the LPA referred to an appeal decision where the planning inspector had approved a Class Q application in similar circumstances”, concludes Dinnis.

For further information please contact Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 212380 or at briandinnis@acornrpc.co.uk

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