Beware of restrictive planning conditions

Beware of restrictive planning conditions

“Farmers and landowners should check whether or not any planning conditions imposed by previous planning permissions may restrict the use of their property before preparing applications for the residential change of use of agricultural buildings under the Class Q permitted development right”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

Dinnis explains, “Class Q is one of many permitted development rights in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 (the GPDO). Many readers will be familiar with the criteria and conditions that specifically apply to Class Q. In addition to those rules, there are other less known rules that apply to all permitted development rights. In particular, Article 3(4) of the GPDO states that it does not permit development contrary to any condition imposed by any previous planning permission granted under Part 3 of the Town and Country Planning Act.

The issue of whether a planning condition removes permitted development rights has been considered by the Courts. In Dunnett Investments Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2017] EWCA Civ 192, the Court of Appeal considered a case concerning a Planning Inspector’s refusal to grant a certificate of lawfulness for the change of use of an office building to residential use under the GPDO because a planning condition on a previous planning permission stated:

‘The use of this building shall be for the purposes falling within Class B1 (Business) as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, and for no other purpose whatsoever, without express planning consent from the Local Planning Authority first being obtained.’

The Court found that the wording ‘and for no other purpose whatsoever’ controlled the use of the property and provided a clear and specific exclusion of GPDO rights. The wording ‘without express planning consent’ was held to make it more abundantly clear that GPDO rights were excluded, by requiring a planning application if such uses where to be pursued”.

“We continue to hear about Class Q cases where applicants have been refused consent because of a condition attached to a historic planning permission”, adds Dinnis. “Before incurring costs preparing applications, the starting point should always be to check the planning history”, he advises. “Would be applicants who believe they may have lost Class Q rights because of a planning condition should seek professional advice on whether that is the case or whether any arguments exist that would assist them with their proposals”, concludes Dinnis.

For further information on any rural planning matters please contact Brian Dinnis on 01884 214052 or at

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