Prior Approval Secured For Agricultural Barn in South Somerset

Bailey Partnership

Bailey Partnership’s Chartered Town Planning Team have successfully secured prior approval for the change of use of an agricultural barn in South Somerset to residential dwelling, under Class Q of the General Permitted Development Order.

Class Q permitted development rights allow for the change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from redundant agricultural buildings to dwellinghouses, without the need for planning consent. The change of use is subject to the development adhering to conditions and limitations set out in Class Q of the General Permitted Development Order.  

A major advantage of Class Q applications is that when considering the application the local planning authorities assessment is limited to these conditions and limitations. Local planning authorities are unable to take into consideration any locally adopted planning policies, often providing a means to develop dwellings within the open countryside which otherwise would be resisted.

Another advantage of Class Q applications is once an approval is obtained, this can form a “fall back position”, carrying significant weight in the planning balance when considering planning applications for new build dwellings.  Class Q developments are constrained to the parameters of the regulations and the existing barns, and are often modern in construction and appearance.  Accordingly, it can be argued that the demolition of the barn to deliver high quality, well-designed and more appropriate residential accommodation would provide a betterment to the “fall back position”, constituting as a favourable development to the local planning authority.

The Class Q regulations allow for the conversion of all types of rural barn.  Nevertheless, to be eligible for Class Q, the barn is required to be used solely for an agricultural use as part of an established agricultural unit for a period of at least 10 years prior to the date of development under Class Q begins.  In addition, the barn is required to be capable of being converted without significant rebuilding work and a structural survey will be required to demonstrate this.

The regulations do however allow for building operations to be undertaken to convert the barn into a dwelling, including installation or replacement of walls, roofs, windows, doors and any required services.

Under the regulations any new dwelling will be limited to the existing external dimensions of the building.  The curtilage of the barn is required to be immediately beside or around the agricultural building and no larger than the land area occupied by the agricultural building.

Class Q applications are not permitted if:

  • The site is located on article 2(3) land (includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Conservation Areas and World Heritage Sites);
  • The site is, or forms part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a safety hazard area, a military explosives storage area;
  • The site is, or contains, a scheduled monument; or
  • The building is listed.

Where a barn does not meet the criteria set out in Class Q, then a full planning application will be required.

Should you have an agricultural barn which you think is suitable for conversion under Class Q, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We provide planning consultancy and architectural services in house and would be more than happy to support you with your conversion project.