New rules on the change of use of agricultural buildings came into force on Thursday 30 May.
They introduce a freedom to re-use small farm buildings without any form of planning approval.
Where the total floorspace does not exceed 150m2, all the farmer needs to do is write to the local planning authority with the following information:
- The date when the change of use will happen
- The nature of the use(s) and
- A plan of the site showing the building(s).
Members are advised to use recorded delivery or a similar service in case the notification is challenged later.
An NFU briefing paper, available from CallFirst on 0870 8458458, outlines the restrictions on eligibility for change of use and the prior approval that may be required in the case of larger buildings, to a maximum of 500m2.
Listed Buildings are excluded and permission may be needed for any works required to accompany the change of use. A draft order laid before Parliament introduces a fee for the prior approval procedure of £80 from October, although until then there is no fee.
The NFU has welcomed the relaxation, having lobbied on the issue for many years.
A consultation document on a possible freedom to effect change to residential use without planning permission is expected next month.