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Conversion of Agricultural Buildings to residential


In this post, we look in to the rights granted under Class Q of Part 3 of the Permitted Development Order 2015 as amended.


Part 3 Class Q of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) 2015, often referred to as "Class Q," is a section that pertains to the conversion of agricultural buildings into dwellings without the need for full planning permission. This particular class is designed to facilitate the conversion of certain agricultural structures into residential properties, contributing to rural regeneration and repurposing underutilized or redundant buildings.

Key points and requirements under Part 3 Class Q of the GPDO 2015 include:

  • Definition of Agricultural Buildings: Class Q applies to specific types of agricultural buildings, including barns, cowsheds, and silos, which are used for agricultural purposes. It doesn't encompass structures like residential homes or stables.

  • Eligibility Criteria: To convert an agricultural building into a dwelling under Class Q, certain criteria must be met. These criteria include:

    • The building must have been in agricultural use as part of an agricultural unit on or before October 20, 2013.

    • The total floor area of the building to be converted cannot exceed 850 square meters (as per amendments to the 2015 regs).

    • The amendments to the regs also provide provisions for up to 5 dwellings (possibly to be increased to 10!).

    • The development must meet specific design and amenity standards, including natural light, structural integrity, and appropriate access.

  • Limitations: It's important to note that Class Q does not grant permission for all types of development. For example, it doesn't allow new-build homes or extensions to the building. The conversion should also maintain the external appearance of the original structure, to preserve the rural character.

  • Local Authority Notification: While Class Q provides permitted development rights, property owners must notify the local planning authority (LPA) before beginning the conversion process. The LPA will assess the proposal's compliance with the GPDO's requirements and can issue a determination within 56 days.

  • Consideration of Planning Conditions: Local authorities can attach planning conditions to the development, which must be adhered to throughout the conversion process to ensure that it aligns with local planning policies and safeguards the environment.

Part 3 Class Q has been instrumental in revitalizing rural areas by allowing redundant agricultural structures to be transformed into residential properties, thereby preserving the heritage of the countryside while addressing the need for more housing.


However, the strict criteria and considerations for these conversions make it essential for property owners to seek professional guidance and engage in thorough planning before embarking on such projects.


The Class Q provisions continue to evolve with amendments and local variations, so it's crucial to stay updated with the latest regulations and work closely with local planning authorities to ensure a successful conversion under this section of the GPDO 2015.


It doesn't just apply to brick or stone barns, steel portal frame buildings can also comply if they accord with the criteria!

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