If you are looking to extend or alter your home you may not need to apply for planning permission. Some alterations such as small extensions, decking, fencing, roof windows and more may be allowed under ‘Permitted Development Rights’.

For example, you may be able to extend your house to the rear by up to 4m for a detached house and 3m for any other house without approval from your planning department. Larger rear extensions of up to 8m for a detached house and 6m for any other house may also be allowed under Permitted Development, however a Prior Approval Notice will be required before work commences. However, if your property is listed, in a designated area of any description (such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or National Park) or in a Site of Special Scientific Interest, then different criteria apply.

The Planning Portal website www.planningportal.co.uk contains extensive guidance and interactive web pages that are useful as a first step in establishing whether planning permission will be required.

Class Q Barn Conversions

In March 2014 the conversion of redundant agricultural buildings without the need to obtain Full Planning consent was introduced. Great news – but as you might expect it is not quite as simple as that!

There are plenty of restrictions, for example your building may not be eligible due to its location or its historic status. Further, to qualify the building must have been used solely for agricultural use as part of an agricultural unit on and before 20 March 2013. Buildings brought into use after that date can only be converted once they have been used for agricultural purposes for 10 years. Limitations also apply relating to the floor area of the conversion, as well as the need to meet the ‘5 tests” of Local Authority Criteria.

It is difficult to condense the legislation detail into one article however here are the key factors in determining whether permission will be required and we hope this will help as a basis for further consultation.

1. Does my project meet all of the following?

  1. The site was used solely for agricultural use as an agricultural unit on 20th March 2013 or last used for agriculture if currently unused  (A ten year rule applies to buildings brought into use after this date)
  2. The proposed floor area is less than 450m2
  3. No more than 3 separate dwellings are proposed
  4. The proposed development is within the existing footprint
  5. The works proposed are only those reasonable to create a dwelling, including only partial demolition
  6. The building is not listed or on a site which contains a scheduled monument
  7. The site does not form part of a site of special scientific interest, is not in a safety hazard area or a military area
  8. If the site is occupied under an agricultural tenancy, the landlord and tenant give consent

If yes, the next step is to notify your local authority that you wish to change the use of your agricultural building by submitting a prior approval application. Otherwise, Full Plans Approval is required.

2. The Local Authority Criteria

The local authority is required to assess your proposals against the following criteria. Check with them for the documents they require.

Contamination Risks: e.g. If the site is at risk of contamination, contamination tests may be required.

Noise Impact: e.g. If the proposal will create a noise impact, consultation with neighbours may be required.

Flood risks: e.g. If the building is in flood risk zone 2 or 3, a flood risk assessment may be required.

Transport and Highways Impact: e.g. If the site does not have access from a public road or private access road how will access be achieved and what impacts will this have?

Considerations of the Site: This covers a range of criteria that the local authority may consider, such as ecology, construction, location, e.g. If the building is isolated the Planning Authority may feel that conversion will be detrimental to the setting or will the design and external appearance of the conversion suit the location?

3. Approval Outcome

Your Local Authority will advise you whether a Prior Approval Notice is either not required, given or refused.