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Up-cycling To Achieve Rural Dwellings And Income Stream

A redundant grain silo and a steel frame barn are ways farmers and landowners are thinking outside the “loose” box when converting redundant agricultural buildings, under the recently updated Class Q prior notification system.

Charlotte Jacob associate land agent with Balfours, says that while full planning for five dwellings would cost in planning fees, in excess of £2,300, the cost under prior notification is just £96 for five dwellings. She explains: “Going for permitted development Class Q does stack up; not only financially but also in timeliness. While a full planning application decision can take more than two months, prior notification will take no more than 42 days from receipt.”

This year there are three key amendments - relating to increased area eligible for conversion, the ability to make significant interior revamps and removing references to structural strength - all serve to make Class Q permitted development rights even more attractive.

She adds: “Previously three dwellings were allowed not exceeding 450 square metres, however this year’s amendment are significant allowing up to five dwellings not exceeding a cumulative area of 865 square metres.”

According to Charlotte the new amendments could be greatly beneficial to farmers and landowners offering an opportunity to convert to residential without the expense of a full planning application – and to upcycle farm buildings not previously considered. The development does not have to be within the development boundary and the Local Planning authority has 42 days to make a decision.

She says:  “There are considerations, including that the site must have been in agricultural use since March 2013 and that the owner will be subject to limitations on their agricultural permitted development rights .”

“The key point is to seek professional advice so that you don’t overlook any small print. We all know barn conversions can contribute to meeting housing supply needs, which are much needed in rural areas; it is also an opportunity for farms and estates to diversify –providing the opportunity for a very different income stream, even from a redundant silo,” Charlotte concludes.

barn for conversion

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