Monday, 12 March 2018

STOP PRESS :::: PD rights for residential conversions extended

There has been much speculation as to whether the government would extend the PD right under Class P (for the residential conversion of buildings used for storage within Use Class B8). An absolute deadline for the commencement of residential use required all developments of this type to be completed no later than 15 April 2018, failing which this PD right would lapse.

However MHCLG has now announced a one-year extension of this deadline. I don’t know yet whether the government has laid an amending Order to give effect to this extension, or if not how soon they expect to do so, but they have left this extension of time extremely late, and have no doubt caused much anxiety and inconvenience to property owners and developers by failing to make up their minds earlier about extending this deadline.

In the same announcement, the Ministry has confirmed their intention (which they had previously canvassed) to extend the PD right under Class Q to enable either up to three dwellings to be created on a single agricultural unit (as now), but subject to a slightly increased cumulative floorspace limit of 465 square metres (compared with the previous cumulative limit of 450 sq m), or alternatively up to five dwellings, each of which would be limited to no more than 100 sq m. Within these limits, it seems that developers will be allowed to ‘mix and match’ their development, provided that no more than three of the new dwellings exceed the 100 sq m limit (but still subject to the overall limit of five dwellings).

I think we shall need to see the actual wording of the amendment order to understand exactly how these new limits will work, especially in relation to a combination of larger and smaller dwellings.

The government has also announced a proposed enlargement of PD rights for the erection of agricultural buildings on larger agricultural holdings under Part 6, which will enable buildings of up to 1,000 sq m to be erected (in place of the current limit of 465 sq m). Again, precise details will need to be checked when the amending order to the GPDO is made.

UPDATE (13.3.18): I am grateful to Steve Jupp for pointing out that the amending order is the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2018 (SI 2018 No.343), which was made on 8 March and takes effect on 6 April.

I haven’t had time yet to get my head round the detailed drafting amendments but, for the purposes of Class Q, a “larger dwellinghouse” is defined as a dwellinghouse developed under Class Q which has a floor space of more than 100 square metres and no more than 465 square metres, and a “smaller dwellinghouse” is defined as a dwellinghouse developed under Class Q which has a floor space of no more than 100 square metres.

Subject to this definition, in the case of a larger dwellinghouse within an established agricultural unit the cumulative number of separate larger dwellinghouses developed under Class Q must not exceed 3; nor must the cumulative floor space of the existing building or buildings changing use to a larger dwellinghouse or dwellinghouses under Class Q exceed 465 square metres. Similarly, in the case of a smaller dwellinghouse within an established agricultural unit, the cumulative number of separate smaller dwellinghouses developed under Class Q must not exceed 5; nor must the floor space of any one separate smaller dwellinghouse exceed 100 square metres.

The development under Class Q (together with any previous development under Class Q) within one and the same agricultural unit must not result in either or both of the following—
(i) a larger dwellinghouse or larger dwellinghouses having more than 465 square metres of floor, and/or
(ii) the cumulative number of separate dwellinghouses exceeding 5.

So far as Class P is concerned, this is now amended so that the PD right under this class is only disapplied if the prior approval date falls on or after 10 June 2019 (so the deadline has been extended for around 14 months) and there is now also a condition that the development must be completed within a period of 3 years starting with the prior approval date.



  1. I can see that 5 dwellings is a big improvement, but is a 3% increase in floor space really going to be a deal maker for some?

    Martin, can you clarify if the floor space is the building footprint or does this need to be halved if there is to be a second storey?
    I am aware, I think, that mezzanines can be added without permission, but surely the windows etc would all have to be incorporated in the original plans, and it would all appear a little odd at the planning stage.

  2. Martin

    The amending Order is on line 2018 No. 343 and also clarifies how the new Class Q rights will work side by side and in essence now allows a maximum of 865 sq m of agricultural buildings to change use on basis of 1no larger dwelling at 465 and 4no smaller dwellings at 100sqm each.. I have a feeling LPAs will not be happy....


  3. In response to the anonymous comment earlier today regarding the calculation of the floorspace limits under Class Q, the provisions in the amendment order entirely replace paragraphs Q.1.(b) to (h) in the original 2015 Order. The floorspace limit in the original version of the 2015 Order applied both to the cumulative floorspace in the existing buildings being converted, and to the total floorspace after conversion that would be in residential use (including additional floorspace, such as a mezzanine floor).

    Looking now at the provisions which I have summarised in today’s update of the blog post above, in the case of a larger dwellinghouse, the cumulative floor space of the existing building or buildings changing use to a larger dwellinghouse or dwellinghouses under Class Q must not exceed 465 square metres, but there is also a provision that a larger dwellinghouse or larger dwellinghouses [i.e. after conversion] must not have more than 465 square metres of floor space. As before, therefore, I would regard the floorspace limit as including any additional floorspace, such as a mezzanine floor.

    In the case of a smaller dwellinghouse, the floor space of any one separate smaller dwellinghouse must not exceed 100 square metres. So I see the floorspace limit in this case too as applying to the total developed floorspace, including any mezzanine floor.

    1. Dear Martin

      I've read this post with some interest. I take the point that there is a difference between existing and converted. If for example you had an existing building that exceeded 465sqm and you were to say add 3 large dwellinghouses (each <465sqm) is Q1(b)BA actually saying that in the case of a larger dwellinghouses as the existing building exceeds 465 then no development for larger dwellinghouses is possible? Or in the alternative is it saying that the accumulative floorspace cannot exceed (in total) 465sqm - this to my mind is somewhat then reiterated in Q1(d) by its reference to plural dwellinghouses not exceeding 465?

      Best wishes


    2. This question is too complex to answer here, but it is fully discussed in the Third Edition of my book, A Practical Guide to Permitted Changes of Use. (See paragraph 9.5 of Chapter 9, where readers will find a comprehensive explanation of the floorspace calculations.)

  4. Reading the regulations it appears you are now able to convert up to 865sqm of floorspace within an agricultural unit into 1no. large dwellinghouse (465sqm) and 4no. small dwellinghouses (100sqm each).

    Is that correct?

  5. In answer to Josh M, I believe that his interpretation of the new provisions is correct, although I am not sure that this is what the government’s announcement of these changes actually suggested.

    I have not attempted to calculate the resulting floor area of various combinations of larger and smaller dwellings that could be created, but 465 sq m is the absolute cumulative limit of the floorspace that can be created in the form of larger dwellings (i.e. those having a floor area of more than 100 sq m). Nevertheless, at a rough guess, the scenario postulated by Josh would appear to create the largest cumulative amount of floorspace that could be created under these provisions. Other combinations would appear to produce lower totals.

    As I have previously noted (and in line with the differently worded but essentially identical provision in the previous version of Class Q), the creation of additional floorspace within any of the buildings, for example by means of adding a mezzanine floor, counts towards the cumulative floorspace limits.

    Paragraph 105 of the online PPG now makes it clear that the creation of mezzanine floors and the like is not excluded. This had always been my view of the legal position under the GPDO, but the latest revision of paragraph 105 removes the doubt that some planning officers seem to have had had about this.

  6. Martin

    I am confused as to the new wording of Q.1. (d) (as amended). Am I right in reading that you cannot exceed 465sq.m for a larger dwellnghouse either/or exceed 5 dwellinghouses on the agricultural unit. It specifies a use falling under C3, would this include existing dwellinghouses on the unit that have not been changed under Class Q.

  7. I think the first point was covered in my comment the other day.

    As regards the second point, there was an ambiguity in the original drafting of Class MB in the 1995 GPDO as to whether the former three-dwelling limit included existing dwellings on the agricultural holding, which was later corrected. Without having gone through this new wording with a fine tooth comb, I am pretty sure that existing dwellings within C3, other than those created by previous residential conversions under the PD rights in Part 3, are not intended to count towards the numerical and floorspace limits.