Class Q of the Town & Country General Permitted Development (England) Order permits the change of use of agricultural buildings to dwellings subject to a prior approval process. This means it is possible to convert an agricultural building to dwelling(s) without the need for full planning permission, provided it meets with certain criteria.
The criteria includes (but is not limited to) that the building was used solely for agricultural purposes as part of an established agricultural unit on 20th March 2013, or, if the site was not in use on that date, when it was last in use before that date; or in the case of a site brought into use after 20th March 2013, for a period of at least 10 years before the date of development under Class Q begins.
The result of the above is that as from 20th March 2023 any agricultural building(s) in use after 20th March 2013 will potentially benefit from Class Q. Seeking advice early in the process is important to ensure you have the best chance of success once at application stage. Class Q permits conversion for up to a total of five dwellings dependent on size.
Building operations are permitted which are reasonably necessary to convert the building to residential use. However, the external dimensions of the building cannot exceed those existing and the building must be deemed able to be converted without external alteration.
Details of the proposal, including plans, need to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority. The process is not without its challenges as some authorities require more consultants reports than others. Once validated the Authority will decide whether prior approval is granted or refused. They have 56 days to notify the applicant of their decision.
As with all Permitted Development Rights these rights are not available if the property is located within an AONB, SSSI, National Park or World Heritage Site. Neither is it available if the site is occupied under an agricultural tenancy without the express consent of both landlord and tenant.