New planning rules allow agricultural buildings to be converted to houses
As of 6th April 2014, new relaxed planning rules now allow farmers to convert their redundant, under-used agricultural buildings into houses. Up to 450 sqm (4,850 sqf) of buildings per farm can now be turned into a maximum of three houses or flats.
The new rules willnot apply in Conservation Areas, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, SSSIs nor if the building is listed or a Scheduled Monument.
For those where the new rules do apply, there are a number of limitations to any conversion:
The site must be wholly in agricultural use
Complete demolition is not allowed but partial demolition and building operations “reasonably necessary to convert the building to residential use” are allowed (e.g. replacement windows, doors, roofs, walls and installation of services)
A 10-year rule applies so that agricultural buildings erected under other PD rights after March 20th 2013 do not benefit from these conversion rights
On tenanted holdings, both landlord and tenant approval must be sought
A prior approval process must be followed whereby the relevant Council/Planning Authority has to be notified of the proposals and can decide whether or not it wants to approve certain details of the scheme, namely design and external appearance, transport and highway impacts, noise impacts, and contamination and flooding risks. The Council can also consider whether “the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to a dwelling”
This change in legislation will undoubtedly offer opportunities for many rural businesses. It remains to be seen how it will work in practice and whether Councils will try and use the prior approval process to de-rail conversion schemes.
For an initial consultation as to whether you may benefit from the new rules, please email details to me (including address and postcode of farm/site; and if possible a location plan/or googlemap). Alternatively please give me a call.
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