Converting Barns Into Buildings

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Converting Barns Into Buildings

DO you have an old barn suitable for conversion? Did you know that Class Q is a form of permitted development rights allowing for the conversion of agricultural buildings for residential use up to a maximum of five dwellings? These permitted development rights can add value to your agricultural buildings.  
Lister Haigh’s Planning and Development Specialist, Giles Chaplin explains. “The barn or agricultural building must have been used solely for an agricultural use on or before 20th March 2013. The use may have ceased before March 2013, but it can’t have had any other material change of use since it stopped having an agricultural use. You can’t build a barn now and then convert it. You must wait ten years for any site that is newer than March 2013. As from 1st August 2020, you must supply floor plans as part of the application and it will require the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the properties created under Class Q. “

Under the rights, it is permitted to have up to five new properties either ‘Smaller Dwellinghouses’ or ‘Larger Dwellinghouses’ or a combination. Smaller Dwellinghouses are up to 100 m² and Larger ones are between 100 m² and 465 m². You can have up to three larger properties as long as the area converted does not exceed 465 m², up to five smaller properties of up to 100 m² each or you can combine the two as long as you don’t exceed five units in total. Giles confirmed you can have five units of 100 m² and convert 500 m² or three larger ones of any combination as long as they don’t exceed 465 m² and then have two properties of 100 m² each; the maximum possible combination is 865 m² comprising one unit of 465 m² and four units of 100 m².o

“As expected apart from the important date of 20th March 2013, there are a few locations where you can’t enjoy Class Q,” added Giles. “These are listed buildings (or within its curtilage), Conservation areasarea of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), National Parksthe Broads and World Heritage Sites. You also need to avoid sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), safety hazard areas or a military explosive storage area. 

“There are also a few criteria that the local planning authority will consider the prior approval against. They are highway impacts of the development, noise impacts, contamination risks, flood risk and the design or external appearance of the building. The final one is the location or siting of the building and whether it makes it impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to a C3 (residential unit/s). The guidance makes it clear that the ‘location test’ should only be used very specifically, to prevent, for example, new dwellings in situations without access or close to potentially harmful activities.”

The other important restriction to note confirmed Giles is that you cannot go beyond the existing footprint of the barn nor raise the roof under Class Q. The curtilage cannot be any larger than the footprint of the building.

If you’d like to find out more, please call our Planning and Architect Team on 01423 860322 and ask for Giles or Marie to arrange a free appraisal.