New permitted development rights for farms

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Updated permitted development rights could allow for larger farm buildings and more homes on farm.

Do you need a new farm building or are you looking to convert an agricultural building to residential use. Could you benefit from new planning rights? Read on to learn more. 

Farm building boost

Farmers are to be allowed to create up to 1,000sqm of new agricultural building floor space under updated permitted development rights from 6 April.* New legislation is expected to come into force for farm holdings of 5ha or more. Currently farmers can erect up to 465sqm of floor space. The NFU has been lobbying for permitted development rights to be improved to boost farm productivity and innovation.

Permitted development is a simpler, quicker and cheaper way to get farm development through the planning system, so it provides more certainty for farmers trying to improve their farm businesses. The system also frees up time and resources for local planning authorities.

Full details of the updated permitted development rights will be provided when the new regulations come into force. Farmers should also check their permitted development rights as sometimes rights are restricted, for example when there are listed buildings on farm.

*The planning system always works in metric but 1,000sqm is equivalent to approximately 10764 square feet.

Chance to get up to five homes on farm

In spring 2016 the Government consulted on new permitted development rights to allow agricultural buildings to be converted into up to five dwellings. The new regulations will now come into force on 6 April and are likely to change the existing Class Q permitted development rights. The exact details are to follow, including ‘limitations to control impact and to protect local amenity’ but what we do know is the rules could create:

  • Up to 3 larger homes within a maximum of 465 square metres
  • Up to 5 smaller houses each of no larger than 100 square metres or
  • A mix of both, with a total of no more than 5 houses, of which no more than 3 can be larger homes.

NFU members can read more about the current regulations in the NFU Business Guide 903. (You will be asked to log in).

More time to use permitted development rights to convert storage and distribution uses into residential use

Farmers who no-longer need buildings for storage and distribution uses could also have more time to use permitted development rights for their conversion to residential use. The government announced a temporary permitted development right last year to allow this to happen and farmers will now have until 10 June 2019 to use this rule. Farmers are advised to check for previous planning restrictions before applying for this.

New national policy for rural dwellings could further boost homes on farm

The government is also consulting on changing national planning policy for getting a home on farm. The consultation runs until 10 May and, if supported, changes could come into force in the summer. These rules will apply to planning applications for homes.  Changes include extending the rural worker test to include a worker taking 'majority control of a farm business', and to allow the subdivision of an existing residential property.

Find out how you can respond to these proposals and wider changes to national policy for planning here.

Further guidance

Please be aware that not all government guidance on permitted development rights for agricultural buildings is up to date, but you can read more about the current regulations in their original form here

More guidance on permitted development rights more generally is available here.



Last edited on: 13:03:2018

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  • Posted by: Albert BullPosted on: 17/04/2018 21:13:05

    Comment: Allow building on a site that has had a building on before ie old yards that have building foundations , or old buildings beyond repair.

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