“The Government has announced the implementation of new permitted development rights (PDRs) which will enable buildings no longer suitable or needed for agriculture to be converted to a range of other uses, but excluding residential, without the need for planning permission,” reports Brian Dinnis of leading agents Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
Dinnis says, “The uses that will become permitted have not yet been published but consultation on this matter last year identified the following potential changes of use that it seems likely the new PDRs will cover – retail (A1), financial and professional (A2), restaurants and cafes (A3), business (B1), hotels (C1) and assembly and leisure uses (D2). Conversions to permitted uses will be subject to a size restriction, yet to be specified, and a prior approval process for conversions above a set size.”
In addition to redundant agricultural buildings, the Government also announced changes to PDRs to allow the change of use from office (B1a) to residential (C3). This PDR will initially be time limited for three years and before proceeding with a change of use under it there will be a prior approval process to guard against unacceptable impacts, such as transport and highway issues, flood risk and land contamination.
“The new PDRs will come into force in the spring but farmers should start preparing now by checking whether any agricultural buildings in non-agricultural office use could benefit from being regularised by way of a lawful development certificate to maneuver a position to benefit from the PDR to change the use to residential. Rules governing PDRs tend to be complex so there will no doubt be pitfalls to avoid. For example, we already know the office to residential PDR will only cover change of use so any physical development that currently requires a planning application will continue to do so. Likewise, proposed changes of use that will not benefit from the new PDRs will continue to require full planning applications.” concludes Dinnis.
For further information or advice please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052.