Capitalising on Changes to Permitted Development Regulations for Rural Property

Recent changes to permitted development regulations in England open new opportunities for developers. As of May 2024, modifications were made to Part 3 of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, also known as the GPDO. Let’s explore how these changes can benefit your rural development ventures.

Key changes to the General Permitted Development Order

Key alterations expand flexibility for converting farm buildings. Part 3 Class Q which relates to the permitted change of agricultural buildings to dwellinghouses now allows up to 10 dwellings rather than 5 previously. Maximum floor area for new homes increased to 1,000 sqm too. Rear extensions and considerations beyond strictly “agricultural” uses broaden viability.  For instance buildings can be extended by 4m on any hard surface that was present on or before 24 July 2023 and buildings do not necessarily need to be ‘agricultural’ to apply, so long as they are located on an ‘agricultural unit’.

Part 3 Class R relating to agricultural buildings to a flexible commercial use revisions similarly grow commercial options. In addition to class B8 (storage or distribution), C1 (hotels) or E (commercial, business and service) uses, B2 (general industrial), F2(c) (outdoor sport or recreation) and for the purposes of agricultural training are now permitted. The eligible conversion size threshold rose from 500 to 1,000 sqm as well.

On working lands, Part 6 schedule 2 class A agricultural development on units of 5 hectares or more  and B agricultural development on units of less than 5 hectares rules enable modest expansions to support farming needs. Thresholds for project sizes also increased slightly. Class A the limit of 1,000m2 has been increased to 1,500m2. Class B buildings can now be extended by 25% instead of 20% and the limit has been increased to 1,250m2.

Expanding Options

With fewer hurdles to jump through, you’ll have expanded flexibility to consider agricultural buildings as part of your development portfolio. Barns, stables and other non-residential structures on an agricultural unit could be repurposed into much-needed homes. The amendments give you more viable assets to work with as you seek out new projects.

Pay close attention to size restrictions and other conditions outlined in the GPDO to maximise opportunities while staying regulation-compliant. With advance planning, agricultural buildings could seed future growth for your business. Repurposing unused structures is also better for the environment.

Partnering for Success

When converting agricultural buildings, look for synergistic partnerships with local farmers. Working cooperatively ensures their ongoing farming needs are met while providing housing solutions. Successful projects require balancing agriculture, housing and community needs.

Farmers may welcome additional income from building reuse. Residents gain countryside living with scenic views. And you gain development sites with character, in desirable rural areas where land availability can be limited. Win-win partnerships pave the path for future collaborations.

The amendments aim to boost housing supply while supporting agriculture. With thorough understanding and cooperation, you can leverage these changes to build sustainable communities and a thriving business. The opportunities are there – all it takes is your vision and effort to uncover them.

Considering Your Options for Countryside Living

If you’ve been dreaming of a rural lifestyle without the hassle of lengthy planning processes, it’s worth exploring permitted development rights. Converting qualifying structures like barns may offer both a residence and potential for further projects down the line. However, making sense of permitted development regulations can certainly seem intricate. Seeking guidance from planning professionals is advisable when pursuing this approach.

Permitted development is intended to streamline certain developments that align with pre-defined scopes. It avoids a full planning application. But know that not all building conversions or locations will qualify. An expert can help vet your specific proposal and property to confirm permitted development is feasible.

Should it apply, this alternative route could save both time and money compared to a standard application. But improper interpretation of the detailed rules risks delay and costs from requiring revisions or full planning later. Professional advisors understand permitted development nuances to help navigate the process smoothly from start to finish.

Related Content

Our Practical Guide to Class Q Barn Conversions helps you understand the type of work that typically complies with permitted development rights and which processes you’ll likely have to go through.

If you’re not sure if you need help from a Town Planner take a look at blog on When to Hire a Town Planner our download a Guide on How to Choose a Town Planner.

Changes to Permitted Development Regulations for Rural Property