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      Update on Rural Permitted Development Rights

      Around 10 years ago, we saw the introduction of Class Q (agriculture to residential) and Class R (agriculture to a flexible commercial use) permitted development rights, which opened significant opportunities for barn conversions and rural diversification.

      06 Mar 2024 3 minute read

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      However, these rights are somewhat restrictive and can be difficult to navigate through the planning system. As such, there has been significant campaigning for the broadening of these rights to allow greater opportunity and enhancement of the economy in rural areas.

      On 24 July 2023, the government launched its consultation on additional flexibilities to support housing delivery, the agricultural sector, businesses, high streets, and open prisons; and a call for evidence on nature-based solutions, farm efficiency projects, and diversification’, which closed on 25 September 2023. This consultation suggested significant changes and will potentially increase the amount of development that can take place without the requirement of planning permission. Some of the proposed changes are as follows:

      Class Q (agriculture to residential conversion)

      - Expansion of the rights to include buildings in national parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Conservation Areas.

      - Inclusion of buildings on agricultural units that have been used for nonagricultural purposes.

      - Extension of the rights to include agricultural buildings that no longer form part of an ‘established agricultural unit’ i.e., a trading farm business.

      - An increase in the number of homes that can be provided under Class Q on an agricultural unit from five to 10, with a maximum combined floor area increasing from 865 sq m to 1,000 sq m.

      - A reduction in the maximum dwelling size from 465 sq m to 100-150 sq m.

      - Potential for rear extension to buildings on existing areas of hardstanding.


      Class R (agriculture to a flexible commercial use)

      - Widening of the rights to include any buildings in a rural use, rather than just agricultural use e.g., equestrian and forestry uses.

      - Increase from 500 sq m to 1,000 sq m.

      - Inclusion of sporting, recreational and general industrial uses.

      New agricultural buildings

      - An increase in the maximum floor area for new agricultural buildings under Class A permitted development from 1,000 sq m to 1,500 sq m.

      These are exciting proposals and Bidwells has provided responses to the consultations. We will be closely monitoring how the consultation progresses. Camping and glamping Furthermore, we have also seen the introduction of new changes to the General Permitted Development Order, which came into force on 26 July 2023 (with a transitional period of one year). New rights under Part 4 Class BC will allow for ‘temporary recreational campsite’ for a period of 60 days per calendar year, with up to 50 pitches.

      This allows landowners to move away from the current 28-day temporary use permitted development rights and establish seasonal campsites on a greater scale, which is an excellent opportunity for diversified rural businesses.

      Please note that these rights cannot be utilized until 26 July 2024 and a prior notification procedure is required. Overall, we are seeing positive changes in the rural sector, with indications that the government is supporting the growth and expansion of rural businesses.

      Most rural diversification schemes require planning permission, so the potential broadening of permitted development rights in the rural sector would bring great opportunities for rural businesses, something we are keen to support.

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