Presumably, as part of the Government’s concerns about the housing shortage, changes have been made to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2008 SI2018/343 Class Q in respect of former agricultural buildings and barns being converted to dwellings.

Essentially, the number of dwellinghouses that can now be constructed to replace agricultural buildings and barns has been increased so that there can be up to:

(a) 3 larger dwellinghouses with accumulative floor-space of no more than 465 square metres;

(b) 5 smaller dwellinghouses each with no more than 100 square metres.

This relaxation has to be considered with any development carried out under the old Class Q so that both of the following must be fulfilled:

(a) Larger dwellinghouses must not exceed more than 465 square metres of floor-space;

(b) The total number of separate dwellinghouses must not exceed 5.

What is a larger and a smaller dwellinghouse?

A larger dwellinghouse is one with accumulative floor-space of no more than 465 square metres.

A smaller dwellinghouse is one which is no larger than 100 square metres.

The good news continues in that under the new Class Q there is a greater degree to ‘mix and match’ than under the previous regime. This means that there is a greater ability to mix the housing sizes in the development.

Whilst all this is good news for those wanting to undertake barn conversions or to develop redundant buildings, there are still hurdles to overcome. Not the least hurdle is the reluctance of many local Planning Authorities to see development under Class Q. This is seen as a method of circumventing the ordinary planning process which can potentially result in planning permissions being granted for development in areas which the local Planning Authority does not want to be seen to be developed. For example, otherwise open countryside.

Another hurdle is the suitability of the barn or redundant farm building for conversion. On this and the other aspects of the Class Q application for development, expert advice should always be sought and the application properly presented to increase the likelihood of a successful application.

However, for those who think that using redundant farm buildings for dwellings is a way of putting life back into rural areas the new class is good news.

Hugh Ellins