Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Barn conversions to be permitted development


NOTE: There have been significant changes to the law since this blog post was published, and so the material printed below (including the appended comments) does not accurately reflect the current position. For completely up-to-date and fully comprehensive coverage of this subject, we would strongly recommend readers to obtain a copy of the author’s new book - ”A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO PERMITTED CHANGES OF USE” published by Bath Publishing in October 2015. You can order your copy by clicking on the link on the left-hand sidebar of this page.

Lack of time prevented my writing on all the changes proposed by the recent consultation paper on “Greater flexibilities for change of use”, and so I dealt initially only with the proposed permitted development rights for change of use from retail (A1) or from professional and financial services (A2) to residential use (C3). However, a more dramatic, and potentially controversial, proposal is to allow a change of use of existing agricultural buildings to residential use (together with associated physical works) – the classic barn conversion.

There are already permitted development rights for the change of use of agricultural buildings to use for commercial purposes. So, having allowed conversion of agricultural buildings to other uses, the government sees no reason in principle to restrict this, although they acknowledge that what would be an acceptable change of use needs to be carefully defined. They say they want to avoid high-impact development occurring without the opportunity for local consideration.

The specific proposal is that up to 3 additional dwelling houses (which could include flats) could be converted on an agricultural unit which already existed on 20 March 2013, with an upper limit of 150 sq m for each dwelling, which would allow for a home of reasonable size without its being excessively large. This would apply to any agricultural unit irrespective of its size. (An agricultural unit comprises agricultural land which is occupied as a unit for the purposes of agriculture, including any dwelling or other building on that land occupied for the purpose of farming the land by the person who occupies the unit, or any dwelling on that land occupied by a farm worker.)

Such a new permitted development right for change of use of agricultural buildings to residential use is likely to need some external alterations, and the government recognises that for this permitted development right to be effective it should also include provision for some limited physical development. This would even extend “where appropriate” to the demolition and rebuilding of the property on the same footprint. (Hallelujah! At last we shall see an end to the precious insistence on retention of the existing grotty fabric of life-expired barns and similar buildings that are being converted.)

The catch to these proposals is that prior approval for siting and design would be required to ensure that the physical development complies with local plan policies on design, materials and outlook, and that there would also be a requirement for prior approval in respect of transport and highways impact, noise impact, contamination and flooding risks to ensure that the change of use takes place only in ‘sustainable’ locations. No mention is made here, however, of the NPPF or of the local development plan in general.

Unless I have misread the consultation paper, this permitted development right would not be excluded on “Article 1(5) land” (i.e. in conservation areas, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Norfolk Broads and World Heritage Sites). No mention is made of listed buildings, but perhaps the need for Listed Building Consent for alterations affecting their character is thought to be sufficient protection without requiring any further restriction affecting the proposed permitted development rights set out here.

One of the consequences of the proposed change is that it may become easier in future to create new agricultural dwellings, without having to jump through the hoops currently required by paragraph 55 of the NPPF (and the tests formerly prescribed by Annex A to PPS7). Furthermore, such a dwelling would not be subject to an agricultural occupancy condition.

The government seems dimly to perceive that they may be creating a potential loophole here, and so they propose that in future an owner will be able to choose to exercise either the existing permitted right to construct a new agricultural building under Part 6 (for purely agricultural, not residential use) or the new right for conversion of an agricultural building to a dwelling house. Where the new right is exercised the owner will only be able to exercise the permitted development right for construction of a new agricultural building once a period of 10 years has elapsed. The stated intention is that only where the agricultural buildings are genuinely redundant will it be appropriate to grant a permitted development right to allow for the change of use of that building to residential use. In addition an owner will not be able to exercise the new right if they used the existing permitted development right to construct a new agricultural building on or after the publication of this consultation paper (on 7 August 2013). However, as the paper points out, this will not prevent an application for planning permission for development during this period.

As noted elsewhere in the consultation paper, local planning authorities will be able to issue Article 4 Directions to prevent or restrict such changes of use, although compensation may become payable.

Subject to the consultation exercise (which is due to end in October), the intention is that these further amendments to the GPDO should take effect in April 2014.

UPDATE: The amendment order was made on 10 March 2014, laid before Parliament on 13 March and will come into force on 6 April. See now the post I published on 17 March 2014 (“Barn conversions – the new rules”)

© MARTIN H GOODALL

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Hallelujah! At last we shall see an end to the precious insistence on retention of the existing grotty fabric of life-expired barns and similar buildings that are being converted"

Sorry Martin. Despite your previous excellent blogs on whether demolition is included in a permission for conversion, your views on the principle of demolishing barns to build houses, legal issues aside, seem a bit unusual. The whole point of allowing barn conversions (in the main) through local plan policies is that there may be some benefit in retaining the 'grotty' old thing for its own intrinsic visual or historic value, and also perhaps that it may be considered more sustainable to re-use a building rather than build an new one (the reasoning for policies varies from lpa to lpa).

Of course, knock the thing down and you are basically just building a house in the countryside which is not generally sustainable development(I hope you would agree). Some lpas now only permit conversions where they are in close proximity to settlements (i.e. where they are more sustainable). Those in no-man's-land are left out.

Could be a good time to go and buy some crummy old barns though?

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

It seems the government does not necessarily share the view or this commentator.

Basically, where there is an existing building in the countryside which is considered suitable for conversion to a dwelling, there really cannot be any objection to its being replaced with a replica (or something of similar size) rather than insisting on the pre-existing structure being retained.

Different considerations naturally apply if the barn (or other building) is a listed building, but it is just plain daft for LPAs to get all stroppy over the fact that the barn has collapsed or has been demolished and has then been rebuilt from the ground up, rather than being ‘converted’ in a more restrictive sense.

If the principle of residential conversion is accepted, then it is no less sustainable if it comprises a rebuild of the barn rather than a simple conversion. The result is one new dwelling in the countryside in either event. The government clearly accepts this – hence their suggestion that reconstruction might be a permissible option.

Anonymous said...

What makes no sense is that the government on the one hand is saying 'don't build houses in unsustainable locations' and then on the other hand, 'convert/demolish barns for housing in the same locations'.

Barn conversions are just houses in the countryside. The whole conversion thing is just a smokescreen for development that you would never normally approve.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

In case no-one had noticed, the government is currently embarked on a strongly pro-development policy initiative. Planning officers had better get used to it, or there will be tears before bedtime. Yes, it is in stark contradiction to previous ministerial pronouncements, but facing in two diametrically opposite directions on the same subject at one and the same time is something at which this government seems to have become quite adept. Cameron got into the habit when he was in opposition - saying whatever he thought would please the audience he was addressing at the time, despite having said more or less the opposite to a different audience only a short time before – a typical PR man’s approach.

There are clearly rumblings in the Tory shires, and this is what brought Maggie Thatcher’s dash for development to a halt in the second half of the 1980s. Whingeing backbenchers finally got through to her, but the developers had a good 7-year or 8-year run before the Thatcher government found ‘Reverse’ gear. The present government has clearly binned its pre-election green paper “Open Source Planning” and has embraced the joys of development instead. The concept of ‘localism’ was already facing extinction at the time when the Localism Act was passed.

How long they can keep up the present momentum remains to be seen. At the moment it looks as though they are still going full steam ahead, but ministers have already shown a propensity for rapid U-turns when policies appear to be unpopular, so any retreat on development and planning could be quite sudden and unexpected when it occurs. Early in 2015 (maybe even late 2014) would seem the most likely timing for another major policy reversal in this area, but for the time being the further ‘liberalisation’ of the planning system looks set to proceed apace.

Anonymous said...

I think it is wonderful that people may now be able to make good use of old buildings which often add very little to the character and appearance of the countryside and have no positive existing use or potential future use. There is so much lost potential at the moment due to the planning system...
I actually work for a planning authority as a DM officer and I am fed up of refusing planning permission for genuinely well thought out development proposals to convert existing agricultural buildings/demolish and rebuild existing agricultural buildings, solely on policy grounds. I find people generally want to do something positive to their assets. I find they are often willing to spend lots of cash and create a development that is top dollar, given the opportunity to..

I am so pleased with the Government at the moment – in a country where developable land is in short supply, where there is not enough housing and where the population is increasing everyday with no sign of abating – something has to give and the only thing that can realistically give is the red tape..

Anonymous said...

Do you think a few barn conversions will solve the housing crisis (if any are actually left unconverted)?

If someone invented pollution free energy to power vehicles tomorrow I'd be right there with you. But guess what?

Anonymous said...

This in my opinion is probably all good news.
I have an ancillary question which would take it a stage further.If you were actually re/building the barn and proposed to do this yourself and stayed onsite in a caravan with your family whilst doing so is there any law that says you can or cannot do this? Or are you into a Human rights act struggle with the LPA

Ed Baker said...

With offices, and potentially rural buildings, being allowed to be converted to residential under the prior notification process, doesn't this make something of a mockery of the Community Infrastructure Levy? Presumably, developers are able to completely by-pass the CIL requirements under these new regulations, leading to a multitude of new homes the infrastructure for which will have to be provided at the expense of the tax payer. Completely counter to the very principles of CIL.Once again, this illustrates the failure to think things through.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

Part 5, Class A, of the Second Schedule to the GPDO allows the stationing of a caravan on land in the circumstances mentioned in (among others) paragraph 9 of Schedule 1 to the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. This covers caravans used on-site (or on adjoining land) for the accommodation of workers employed in carrying out [authorised] development. This would clearly cover a self-build case, and it seems to be accepted in practice (although the legal position seems doubtful) that it would extend to the rest of the family, but if the work is being carried out entirely by contractors then it would not appear that the owner and their family could legitimately live in a caravan on the site in those circumstances. There was a Court of Appeal decision relating to this provision in 1997, but lack of time prevents my looking this up.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

In answer to Ed Baker’s point - as I understand it, CIL will not normally be charged on the floorspace resulting from a change of use, although there is a proviso that this may only apply where the existing building has been in continuous lawful use for at least six months in the 12 months prior to the development being permitted (in this case by the GPDO). However, apart from this, permitted development under the GPDO is not exempt from CIL unless it commenced before 6 April 2013 or (if later) before a CIL charging schedule was adopted in the area in question. I would have to defer, however, to my colleagues’ superior knowledge on CIL. When one is in a firm with some high powered tax lawyers, not to mention a very strong property law team, it is easier to leave such matters to them and to concentrate on pure planning law. (I just wish that CIL would go away!)

Ian Raper said...

How do you interpret some of the detail?

Specifically the "3 dwellings of up to 150M^2 each, combined with the paragraph:
"17. The package covers permitted development rights to allow shops and existing buildings used for agricultural purposes of up to 150 square metres to change to residential use."

Firstly, would 150m^2 Max refer to the foot-print of a new dwelling or the total floor area (incl. 1st floor)

And could a single ag. building of say +450m^2 give rise to 3 separate dwellings, or do you feel the wording suggests 1 dwelling per ag. building?

Thanks, IanR.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

In answer to Ian Raper, we have only the consultation paper to go on at the moment. We shall have to wait for the actual legislation (a further amendment order of the GPDO) in order to see the detail. So attempted textual analysis of the consultation document is unlikely to be very enlightening. However, I read the 150 sq m limit as applying to each of up to three dwellings, so that up to 450 sq m of floorspace could be converted. We shall see in due course whether I am right or wrong about this.

If the consultation paper raises points of concern, then the opportunity should be taken before the consultation period ends in October to draw these points to the attention of ministers. As usual, the pro forma consultation response template attempts to strait-jacket any responses, but I suggest the template should simply be ignored, and comments should be set out in full, irrespective of the questions asked in the consultation document.

Anonymous said...

What about portal frame buildings, are they 'suitable' buildings too. If its accepted that the whole building can be demolished and rebuilt on the same fottprint out of different materials why does it matter if its brick and clay tile or wood, metal and cement sheets?
Any thoughts?

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

I see no reason why portal frame buildings should not be included, and it may well be that replacement with a new building on the same footprint would be the practical answer here. But we shall have to wait and see what is actually in the amending legislation when it emerges next Spring.

Tim Vincent said...

I have not seen any commentary on the matter of garden or amenity land that could be provided for dwellings converted from agricultural buildings. As offices and shops typically have a clearly defined curtilage their conversion is not problematic in that respect, but that is not the case when sub-dividing an agricultural holding.

If there is no guidance on this aspect then there is the possibility of the creation of large residential gardens with the attendant paraphernalia that is usually considered so detrimental to the Green Belt. It is difficult to imagine what area of amenity land might be deemed reasonable.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

I have always taken the view that in these cases a reasonable amount of garden or amenity land should be include as part of the planning unit (let us please not use the word ‘curtilage’ here). What is reasonable is bound to be a matter of judgment, and one can’t lay down any hard and fast rules.

The important point is that the application will define the extent of the planning unit, and it is important to get this right. I have seen cases where applicants have entirely failed to include any garden or amenity land in an application for this type of development, with resulting difficulties later when they realise that they need some amenity space around their home.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if this change includes redundant commercial glasshouses

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

We shan’t know the precise details of what is proposed until the draft legislation is published in around 6 months’ time. In principle, the right to convert to (or rebuild for) residential use could apply to redundant commercial glasshouses, so long as they remain intact on an existing agricultural/horticultural holding, but this cannot be guaranteed in practice. It will all depend on how the government frames the detailed rules.

Anonymous said...

Will this include poly tunnels.Local council consider them agriculture buildings!!

Anonymous said...

As a point of clarification does the Farmer/ agricultural worker need to be resident on the agricultural unit to qualify under the definition (An agricultural unit comprises agricultural land which is occupied as a unit for the purposes of agriculture, including any dwelling or other building on that land occupied for the purpose of farming the land by the person who occupies the unit, or any dwelling on that land occupied by a farm worker.)

PaulC

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

Interesting idea! Polytunnels may certainly be buildings or structures (as established by judicial authority reported in this blog a few years ago), but you might have some difficulty in squeezing a dwelling onto the same footprint, and something tells me that the legislation will be worded to exclude them. The draftsman is going to have an interesting task in so wording the GPDO amendment as to exclude the sort of agricultural buildings and structures that the government would not wish to see replaced by houses.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

In answer to Paul C, we shall have to wait and see what the amendment order says when it is published next Spring. As I read the consultation paper, the land has to be in actual use as an agricultural holding. I don’t read that as requiring that there should already be a farmhouse or agricultural dwelling on the land, but the agricultural unit to which the PD right would apply could include such a dwelling. (In point of fact, I have always taken the view that any dwelling on a farm is in fact a separate planning unit not forming part of the agricultural use. The judgment inR (Egerton) v. Taunton Deane BC [2008] EWHC 2752 (Admin) would seem to confirm this.)

Justin Norton said...

Hi Martin, it's great to hear about this legislation as it may be a lifeline to people with redundant agricultural buildings. Case in point: my parents own a small holding that has been the family since the turn of last century with buildings that were once barns, have since been converted to a haulage yard / sheds and then converted back to agricultural sheds / barns for small holding use. It's a pretty grey area and I imagine lots of small holders are in a similar position, so how does one prove a building is used for agriculture if it has been used for variety of purposes over the years? Cheers, Justin.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

The answer to Justin’s question is that it will depend on a careful consideration of the facts. We shall also have to see exactly how the legislation is expressed when it is introduced (as a further amendment to the GPDO) next year.

There will no doubt be some detailed definitions and provisos in that legislation, and it really won’t be possible to answer detailed questions on this topic until we have all seen the legislation (in around six months’ time).

Anonymous said...

Will permitted development apply to barns which already have PP but where construction work has just started but not yet completed? The PP restrictions are so onerous that it appears that permitted development would be a better option.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

If you are thinking about permitted development under Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the General Permitted Development Order (development within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse), this right cannot arise until there is a dwellinghouse in existence, which in practice means that it has to be substantially completed first (i.e. more or less completely finished – see the House of Lords decision in Sage). So you would have to complete your barn conversion to its original design before you could make any alterations to it. In the case of many barn conversions, permitted development rights are removed by a condition in the planning permission in any event.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

After writing that reply, it occurred to me that the enquirer may have had in mind the possibility of waiting until the new PD rights for barn conversions are introduced next year, rather than relying on the existing planning permission. The drawback to this idea is that if work on the conversion has already started, the barn is no longer in agricultural use, so it won't qualify under the new PD right when this is introduced. It looks as though the enquirer may have to comply with their existing planning permission after all.

Ashley Matthews said...

Hi Martin,
Given that many agricultual buildings are considerably larger than 150 sq m, do you think that the pd right of 150 sq m of resi could be combined with the pd right to change classification?
E.g. Converting a 350 sq m barn into a live work unit of 150 sq m resi & 200 sq m B1 office?
It strikes me that it could be a fine way to breathe some life back into rural communities?

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

I am sorry that there has been such a long delay in Ashley’s comment of 30/10/13 being moderated and published here (due to my absence from the office during much of the intervening period). As with other queries about possible conversion of agricultural buildings to dwellings, it will not be possible to give definite answers until the legislation is formulated in the Spring.

The government seems to be getting something of a backlash from its own supporters over liberalisation of the planning regime, so there can be no guarantee that this further change will actually be delivered. We shall just have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin

Very useful commentary. Whilst recognising that until the detail is available much is speculation but I was wondering about how local authority's planning guidelines insist on no chimneys, no dormer windows, limiting the number and size of windows etc will be overruled by permitted development. For example not having a chimney in 150sq metre house would seem daft - can you comment

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

In answer to this latest comment - as I mentioned in my original blog post, the government recognises that for this permitted development right to be effective it should also include provision for some limited physical development. However, the need for prior approval of siting and design, so as to ensure that the physical development complies with local plan policies on design, materials and outlook, would appear to give LPAs scope for insisting on their design policies, including those matters mentioned by my anonymous correspondent (although there will be a right of appeal against any refusal of prior approval).

One of the drawbacks of the proposal, as I have pointed out before, is that what is proposed by the government would appear to be a planning application in all but name. The only advantage is that the principle of the barn conversion would not be open to dispute by the LPA, so that their control over it would be limited to the issues that can be taken into account as part of the prior approval procedure.

Anonymous said...

I have a 2 story outbuilding with an attached storage unit. Some 2 years ago I had pre planning agreement for change of use to residential. However the storage unit was deemed to be an extension and planning stated that this would have to be reduced by 50% and be single story with pitched roof (it is currently 2 story high with a flat roof). Will the permiited developments changes allow me to develop the storage unit to a double story with pitched roof as it will be within the existing foot print?

Anonymous said...

There are many comments regarding agricultural buildings and permitted development to convert to residential. I have a redundant equestrian centre with buildings of stone under pantile roof. There seems to be no information about this type of development and whether or not conversion would be permitted. Our local authority is quite archaic and restrictive.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

Regrettably, time does not permit me to discuss the points raised by the last two correspndents, as these questions clearly require careful consideration based on their precise facts. However, these are the kind of point on which Keystone Law’s planning law team would be happy to advise if we were to receive instructions in the matter. But where the answer is dependent on the details of the forthcoming change to the GPDO to allow barn conversions for residential use, we shall have to wait until we have seen the actual legislation next Spring.

Harp said...

Hi would the size of the land still be a issue, i,m looking at a 6 acres site that is a tree fruit farm at moment with nice building on it, Thankyou

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

As with so many other queries that have arisen following the publication of the government’s proposals, we won’t know the answers until we see the draft order amending the GPDO when it is laid before parliament. If the government sticks to its announced target date, this may be late March, but government timetables have a nasty habit of slipping - sometimes quite badly, so we shall just have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

What do you think the chances are of the final amended order staying vague/open ended in terms of the demolition section referred to in para 36? I think the crucial word here at the moment is "rebuild" as opposed to replace so maybe implying just buildings that are structurally unsound can be demolished an rebuilt in a similar style i.e. it might be unlikely that a modern portal frame could be replaced with a conventional house. But I guess it is largely irrelevant as long as the principle or rebuilding/replacing is set in the order it will probably just come down to negotiating the design through prior approval with the LPA.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

As with all the other questions that have been raised in connection with these proposals, we shan’t know the answer until we see the amending legislation (a further amendment to the GPDO) in two or three months’ time. There can, in fact, be no guarantee that the government will actually go ahead with these proposals; we can only wait and see.

neil said...

Help, we are currently applying fro planning for 4 residential units from two barns (within the village building line), we have been advised we will get permission but with a local occupancy restriction (which basically kills the scheme) local planning policy on all satellite villages. would the new scheme by pass this local policy and so should we withdraw and wait on the goverment to pronounce

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

My apologies for the delay in moderating the comment from Neil submitted on 29/01/14. Unfortunately, there is no means at the moment of knowing whether or not the government will go ahead with its proposal to make barn conversions permitted development.

However, one thought does occur to me. The planning application might as well be allowed to go forward. The local occupancy condition will only come into effect if or when the planning permission is implemented. If before any start is made on site, the new PD right for barn conversions is introduced (which is bound to involve some form of prior approval process) Neil may then have the choice of either going ahead with the development authorised by the planning permission (in which case it will be subject to the occupancy condition) or to go for an alternative conversion scheme as PD (subject to the detailed terms that will be set out in the GPDO).

If he opts for the latter, Neil should make it clear that he is not implementing the planning permission. The House of Lords ruled very clearly in Newbury DC v. SSE [1981] AC 578 that where planning permission is not needed, because there are existing use rights or permitted development rights on which the developer can rely in order to carry out their development, any conditions imposed in a planning permission which is not in fact needed are of no effect and can be ignored.

To put it another way, it can properly be said that the planning permission has never been implemented, because the developer has relied on other rights to carry out the development, and so the conditions in the planning permission have never come into effect.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin
Thanks for all your information on this fascinating change. Given the near collapse of the home construction industry in the UK over the last 20 years, and especially the last five, even this tiny measure is good news. Yet am I correct that it still (Feb 2014) has not been passed by parliament ? Have they even debated it ? Or is it likely to fly through without disagreement ? It will be curtains for any Conservative MP who opposes it as they will be openly declaring themselves to no longer be the party of Thatcher, but that of Lord Salisbury's landed gentry.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

In answer to the comment from Anonymous on 13/02/14, this change (if/when it is introduced) will take the form of an amendment to the General Permitted Development Order. The amending Order will be a statutory instrument (‘SI’) which will be laid before parliament, maybe next month (or perhaps April), coming into effect around a month later. The SI is unlikely to be debated.

We shall not know whether the government is going to stick to its guns on this until next month, when the SI will either be laid before parliament (purely a formality, as indicated above) or an announcement will be made that the government has decided not to go ahead with the idea. As the government never likes to admit that it has performed yet another U-turn, it will probably wrap it up by saying that this is only ‘for the time being’ or pending further consideration/consultation, or whatever.

I am making no prediction as to which way the government might jump on this. If nothing further is heard about it within the timescale originally announced, then we can assume that there is still some furious head-scratching about it going on inside government.

JP said...

Interesting to note that there was an adjournment debate last night in the Commons with regard to concerns about this policy and lack of protection it provides against redevelopment within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Nick Boles implied that the Government was aware of this and I feel implied that there may be some form of allowance made in the final drafting to protect such areas. No mention of timescale, but he did stress that the Government were still keen to promote conversion of now redundant farm buildings to residential usage.
In summary, still looks good to go ahead but may have conditions imposed if you fall within a National Park or land classed as an Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

I only read JP’s comment (26/11/14) after I had written and posted my own commentary earlier today on this adjournment debate (“Permitted development for homes in National Parks and AONBs”)

Anonymous said...

Its great to see comments supporting the change of use of redundant agricultural barns.
Who decides that a barn is redundant?. Surely it must be the farmer because only they know what they want to use it for.
If a farmer needs to live on their land more than they need to use an agricultural barn for storage will this be enough for the farmer to declare the barn redundant.
I have heard that in the Yorkshire Dales National Park there is a dispute at present where a barn has been declared underused by the planners who say it is not redundant.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

Although there have been various references by ministers to ‘redundant’ agricultural buildings, I did not read the actual consultation paper as referring only to redundant buildings as such. It remains to be seen exactly how the GPDO amendment will define the buildings to which the new permitted development right will apply.

Ian Raper said...

Hi Martin,

The first official statement on the introduction of this policy (that I have seen) was made yesterday.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/local-planning

Will the detail come later? or is that hidden away on a website not obvious to the public, do you think.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that the planning reforms in part appear to have been confirmed, see these links-

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/local-planning

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26471699

But it looks like conversion only, not total rebuild will be permitted when converting a farm building to a residence.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

The written Commons statement by Nick Boles on 6 March, which announced the launch of the NPPG (see my blog entry on that topic), also covered the other topics that Ian Raper mentions. I intend to comment on this in a further blog entry shortly, but I suspect we shall have to wait for the precise details until the publication of the actual amending order to the GPDO in a few weeks time.

Anonymous said...

S.I. No. 2014/0564 gives the details.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/564/contents/made

Concerned with the loss of all part 6 pd rights for 10 years.

Will further clarity come?

Rob

JP said...

It looks like the devil is in the detail. Have a look at the following link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/564/article/5/made

or search for Class MB permitted development in statutory instrument no.564.
Generally good news allowing installation of windows, doors, roofs,and exterior walls. Limited on "external" size and shape of existing building.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

I posted my new piece – “Barn conversions – the new rules” today before I had seen these two latest comments. It was during the weekend that I picked up on the fact that the GPDO amendment had now appeared, and wrote the post published today.

We now know what the new rules say; it is just a question of time as to how they are going to be interpreted. As with the changes to the GPDO made in May 2013, the latest changes pose a number of puzzles for planning practitioners which may only be resolved through the appeal process and, even (if necessary) in the courts.

JP said...

Do the original permitted development rights (class A and Class B) still remain with regard to extending agricultural buildings? If so could you carry out a minor extension (less than 10% volume increase) to a barn on a smallholding of less than 5Ha (class B)and then go for change of use to residential under this new agricultural to residential? Any advice would be gratefully received.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

In answer to JP - As noted in my recent blog post on the new rules, the amendment order prevents an agricultural-to-residential conversion where the erection or extension of agricultural buildings has been carried out under Part 6, Classes A(a) or B(a) of the Second Schedule to the GPDO on the established agricultural unit since 20th March 2013, or within 10 years before the date development under Class MB begins, whichever is the lesser. So you can’t put up new agricultural buildings or extend them and then convert them soon afterwards to residential use

KE said...

Hi
I own a small yard with horses - a manege, hard standing, wood built stables and paddocks. Would this count for agricultural use as far as these new regulations are concerned? And how much would I be able to change the structure - being made of wood they are not suitable for residential use without basically being pulled down and rebuilt? All advice would be welcomed.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

I am afraid that the answer to KE (20/04/14) is “No”. Equestrian use does not count as agriculture.

Anonymous said...

an interesting thought, if a farm has a number of separate buildings spread out around a geographical area, does the permitted development apply on each building? If so some farms with 5 or 6 buildings could potentially apply to change them all to residential?

Gareth Hallam said...

In ref to KE (20.04.14), i also own a equestrian centre and been denied planning in the past (2006) to erect a residential dwelling. So the new rules wouldn't allow me to convert a dutch barn already on site. The land is also green belt, but a change of use on an existing foot print wouldn't alter the land.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

No. The new rules don’t allow a residential conversion on an equestrian site, bearing in mind that it does not qualify as an agricultural use (see Sykes -v- SSE [1981] JPL 285).

Planning permission can sometimes be obtained for a dwelling on an equestrian unit, but only if a really strong functional need for it can be demonstrated. Such permissions are rarely granted in practice.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

In reply to the anonymous comment of 7/5/14, the 450 sq m limit and the limit of three residential units on the holding applies to the entire agricultural holding. So the scenario postulated here cannot arise in practice.

Paul Bird said...

There appears to be an anomaly within the new PD rights with regard to 'safety hazard areas.' Ie if the proposed change of use site falls within a SHA then the PD rights do not apply. On the surface this appears logical, however if we take class Q PD rights as an example, class Q is suspended in SHA's, SHA's are divided into zones, inner, middle and outer. The relevant authority for deciding whether residential development is safe in these various zones is the Health And Safety Executive. I have spoken with Jonathan Cuthbert of HSE who has kindly explained to me that they would never advise against residential development in the outer zone of a SHA, and only sometimes would they advise against within the middle zone.

It is therefore illogical that the Government would have meant for class Q (and other use classes) to be suspended within these SHA's, and that surely it would have been more fitting to have had HSE's consultation as part of the prior approval process? Or is this what was actually intended?

To put this question into perspective, in my area an entire village sits within the outer zone of a SHA and part of it sits within the middle zone. HSE have stated that the chance of being in any danger within the outer zone is equivalent to being struck by lightning!

Many thanks.

Martin H Goodall LARTPI said...

I share Paul Bird’s concern. The exclusion of PD under Part 3 in a safety hazard area is absolute – there is no scope for discretion. [A “safety hazard area” is an area notified to the LPA by the Health and Safety Executive (the “HSE”) for the purposes of paragraph (e) of the Table in Schedule 4 to the Development Management Procedure Order (or under the old General Development Procedure Order) or by the Office for Nuclear Regulation for the purposes of paragraph (f) of that Table.]

In A Practical Guide to Permitted Changes of Use (Chapter 3, paragraph 3.2.3), I have drawn attention to the dismissal for this reason of an appeal in south-east London against the refusal of a prior approval application in respect of the proposed residential conversion of a small office unit under Class O . The appellant’s argument that the nearby gasholders which had led to the designation are now empty and disused, so that they no longer represent a hazard, was unavailing. On any view, this was grossly unfair, but that is what the law says (until or unless this provision in the GPDO is modified).