Updates to Class Q Permitted Development Rights

Three important changes for Spring / Summer 2018

10 April 2018

Keeping up to date with planning regulations is not something many of us can realistically do. Very often we only seek advice as it’s needed.

However, it is worth noting some significant changes to planning law coming into force aimed at boosting house provision and also delivering more land in the right places for housing.

Class Q rights extended

The infamous ‘Class Q permitted development’ was brought in back in 2014 to enable former agricultural buildings to be converted into dwellings. This applies to buildings which have been used for agriculture on or before 20th March 2013. It doesn’t apply to buildings which are in AONB, National Parks or conservation areas, or those which are listed.

Previously, up to three dwellings could be created up to a total of 465m2. This has now been extended to allow up to five smaller dwellings within the same space, each no larger than 100m2, or a mix of five larger and smaller dwellings – up to three of which can be larger than 100m2.

Changes have also been made to rights for erection, extension and alteration of agricultural buildings under Part 6 of the regulation. On agricultural holdings of five hectares and over, buildings of up to 1000m2 can now be erected, more than double the previous limit of 465m2. For holdings of under five hectares, existing buildings can be extended to 1000m2 as long as the cubic content doesn’t increase by more than 20%.

There is additionally a further year to benefit from the right to change of use for storage and distribution buildings to be converted to residential use. Applicants now have until June 2019 to apply.

More information can be found at the following website address:


Consultation on Draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Central Government is currently consulting on the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This important document sets out the national planning policy context for the whole of England and incorporates changes resulting from the 2017 Budget to help boost housing provision and delivery of more land in the right places for housing.

Key relevant changes are:
  • Emphasis on delivering small sites, so subject to consultation a requirement that 20% of sites allocated for housing are small sites (less than half a hectare). Particularly of relevance in rural areas here with predominance of smaller sites.
  • From 2020, the presumption in favour of sustainable development will apply where delivery is below 75% of the local authority’s housing requirement.
  • Implementation of the housing White Paper proposal that at least 10% of homes on major sites should be available for affordable home ownership, with certain exemptions.
  • Proposals that local authorities 5 year supply should be demonstrated either through a recently adopted plan, or through a subsequent annual position statement.

  • Rural Economy
  • Reflection of the fact that the availability of sites to accommodate appropriate development in rural areas for instance for local businesses and community needs is limited, particularly within existing settlements. Policy support for such development outside settlements subject to it being sensitive to its surroundings, does not have unacceptable impact on local roads and exploits opportunities to make the location more sustainable.

  • Effective Use of Land
  • Various new or revised policies that seek to encourage a more effective and intensive use of previously developed land and existing buildings.
  • Encourage multiple benefits from both urban and rural land, including through mixed use schemes and taking opportunities to achieve net environmental gains – such as developments that would enable new habitat creation or improve public access.
  • Promote and support the development of under-utilised land and buildings, especially if this would help to meet identified needs for housing where land supply is constrained and available sites could be used more effectively (for example converting space above shops, and building on or above service yards, car parks, lock-ups and railway infrastructure).
  • Where there is an existing or anticipated shortage of land for meeting identified housing needs, it is especially important that planning policies and decisions avoid homes being built at low densities, and ensure that developments make optimal use of the potential of each site.

  • The consultation runs until the 10th May. A new NPPF is expected later in the Autumn/Winter 2018. More information including the draft NPPF can be found at the following website address:


    Permission in Principle

    From 1st June 2018, legislation comes into force that will allow applications for Permission in Principle to be submitted. There are restrictions, this is not applicable to major developments, EIA development, those that effect protected sites and for household extensions or alterations. However, this may prove to be a very useful route for smaller residential sites.

    This will essentially be back to the old school outline permission route with a simple submission comprising a red line plan and basic level of detail including numbers of dwellings or floor space of use achievable on a site. As it says on the tin, it will establish the principle of a use on the site.

    More information can be found at the following website address:


    Can we help?

    If you are considering a barn conversion, we will be happy to talk in more detail about Class Q and planning options.

    Our portfolio section shows the broad range of developments we have been working on recently. If we can help you with your next project, please get in touch.