“In February 2016 The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published a Call for Evidence for the Rural Planning Review seeking views on planning and regulatory constraints facing rural businesses and on measures that could be taken to address them. In February 2017 it published a summary of responses and is now consulting on proposals to extend certain permitted development rights (PDRs) that could provide more flexibility and opportunities for farmers and landowners”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
The first question is whether size and height thresholds for new agricultural buildings should be amended and, if so, what would appropriate thresholds be, what prior approvals or further conditions would be required and whether any other changes should be considered. “This raises the possibility of PDRs being amended to allow larger buildings than the current 465m2 to be constructed without the need for full planning consent, and also allows the 2 year time limit on using PDRs for further development over the threshold to be reviewed”, explains Dinnis.
The consultation includes a proposal to increase the threshold from 450m2 to 465m2 for the existing Class Q PDRs for the conversion of agricultural buildings to residential use and also a proposal to introduce an agricultural to residential use PDR that would allow the conversion of up to 750m2 of agricultural buildings to a maximum of 5 new dwellings, each with a floor area of not more than 150m2. “The purpose of this new PDR would be to encourage the creation of more homes for rural workers to meet local need and the DCLG is asking for comments as to how the new PDR can be framed and what conditions would be required to ensure that happens”, comments Dinnis.
Readers of our articles will be aware of the recent court case that upheld a Planning Inspector’s decision not to overturn the refusal of a Class Q application on the grounds that the works involved in the conversion would have gone further than permitted by Class Q. The Government has announced that it will be revising planning guidance to clarify for applicants and local planning authorities what constitutes works that are reasonably necessary to convert an agricultural building to residential use for the purposes of Class QPDRs. “It would be helpful if this clarification is worded in such a way as to make it relevant for the proposed new PDR and not just to Class Q”, concludes Dinnis.
For specialist advice on rural planning matters please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.