23 March 2018

King West

Government announce changes to permitted development rights

On 12th March 2018, Housing Minister Dominic Raab announced that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government are making changes to permitted development rights for agricultural buildings. These changes, due to come into force from the 6th April 2018, are hoped to give Rural communities more opportunity to convert agricultural buildings into homes and therefore to better meet local housing needs.

There will be an increase in the qualifying size of new agricultural buildings from a maximum of 465 square meters to a maximum of 1000 square meters and an amended development right for the conversion of agricultural buildings to residential use. Changes to permitted development rights will mean up to 5 new homes can be created from existing agricultural buildings on a farm rather than the maximum of 3 currently permitted. To be specific, the new rule changes will allow existing buildings that meet the criteria to be converted into;

  • Up to 3 homes which together have a total area of no more than 465 square meters, or
  • Up to 5 homes of up to 100 square meters each, or
  • A mix of larger and smaller homes, up to a maximum of 5 units with a maximum of 3 larger homes, maximum 465 square meters each

Currently, several hundred new homes each year are created through conversions of agricultural buildings. These changes to permitted development rights policy are expected to further boost the number of conversions undertaken each year. 

The final key change is a one-year extension, to 10th  June 2019, during which time applicants will benefit from the temporary permitted development right for the change of use from buildings used for storage and distribution to residential accommodation.

It is hoped that these changes will help communities make the best use of existing buildings in order to help to meet local housing needs more efficiently. At the same time, it is expected that converting agricultural buildings ensures that they remain in keeping with the character of the area and therefore safeguard resident’s privacy.

Of the changes to policy, Housing Minister, Dominic Raab stated; “We need to be more creative if we are to meet the housing needs of rural communities. That’s why I’m changing planning rules so rural communities have more flexibility on how best to use existing buildings to deliver more much-needed homes for families. This is part of our comprehensive reform programme to build the homes Britain needs.”

The new changes are expected to aid farmers’ adoption of the latest innovative farming processes as, in addition to conversions, the changes will allow the size limit of new agricultural buildings on farms to increase from 465 square meters to 1,000 square meters.

Landowners must be aware that Permitted Development rights do not apply to listed buildings or those within a conservation area. It must also be noted that the restriction on floor space, in essence, increases the floor space for 3 dwellings and although the maximum floor space appears to have increased from 450-500 square meters it will now be split between 5 units as opposed to 3 previously. 

If King West can be of assistance to farmers or landowners considering the conversion of agricultural buildings, please contact Harry Epsom for an initial consultation on a no-obligation basis via or by telephoning 01858 435970. 

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