Class Q or not Class Q

Class Q or not Class Q

“It is evident from recent instructions that there is still a considerable lack of understanding about the work that can and can not be done under the Class Q permitted development right that allows the residential change of use of agricultural buildings”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

“The approval of an application under Class Q is not the grant of planning consent for the construction of a new dwelling within the envelope of the original building. It is for the change of use of the existing building, together with associated works that are reasonably necessary for the building to function as a dwellinghouse. Those works can include the installation or replacement of windows, doors, roofs, or exterior walls, water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services, and partial demolition to the extent reasonably necessary to carry out those works” explains Dinnis.

“Internal works are not generally treated as development and the national planning policy guidance is that, for the original building to function as a dwelling, it may be appropriate to undertake internal structural works, including to allow for a floor, the insertion of a mezzanine or upper floors within the overall residential floor space permitted by Class Q. If those works are to be included, they must be considered and included in the original application as, if they are not but are carried out anyway, they risk making the whole development unlawful. An example where that could happen is the addition of an upper floor that was not part of the approval and which would take the total floor area over the limit allowed under Class Q”, continues Dinnis.

“There appears to be a general perception that a Class Q consent provides a free rein to “take it down and start again” instead of carrying out the work permitted under the Class Q consent. Where that approach has been taken the result can be that the dwellings that have been created are unlawful and may therefore be unsaleable or unmortgageable and, if the building in question is in a location where permission for a new dwelling would not normally be granted, a retrospective planning application to cover the additional works that have been completed would probably be refused”, advises Dinnis.

“We last covered this issue in our article in January 2019 titled “Two Salutary Tales” but it is still clearly very much alive and continues to have serious unintended consequences for anyone who fails to appreciate and follow the rules”, concludes Dinnis.

For further information please contact Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 212380 or via our website www.acornrpc.co.uk

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