Permitted development rights

Permitted development rights

1024 683 Middleton Advisors

In some circumstances, agricultural buildings may be converted to residential dwellings. This is regulated by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 – the act allows for certain types of work that may proceed without the need for planning permission – in the case of converting agricultural buildings to dwellings, these are Class Q.


The site must have been in use solely for agricultural purposes* as part of an established agricultural unit:

  • On 20th March 2013 or
  • In the case of a building which was in use before  that date but was not in use on that date, when it was last in use, or
  • In the case of a site which was brought into use after 20th March 2013, for a period of at least 10 years before the date development under Class Q begins;

The proposal must be a conversion and the building itself cannot have any extensions or alterations to make it bigger either in width or height.

(* Horses are not considered agricultural in this context).

You may be given permission for up to:

  • 3 homes within a maximum of 465m2 or
  • 5 smaller homes each no larger than 100m2 or
  • A mix of both, within a total of no more than 5 homes, of which no more than 3 may be to the maximum of 465m2

Once your application has been determined by the Local Planning Authority, you have three years to complete the development.

Not permitted.

  • Listed Buildings or scheduled monuments
  • Article 2(3) land including: World Heritage Sites, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Norfolk Broads
  • Sites of Scientific Special Interest
  • Safety Hazard Area
  • Military explosive storage area
  • Conservation areas


Your right to develop will also take into account:

  • Contamination risk
  • Flood risk
  • Transport and Highways impact
  • Noise impact
  • Siting and Location makes a practical and desirable dwelling
  • Design & external appearance
  • Size of the curtilage
  • Agricultural tenancies (including if terminated within the past year)

Middleton advice. 

It’s worth considering employing a planning consultant to advise on permitted development rights.

With special thanks to Nicola Quick, Carter Jonas

Advice papers Middleton Advice is a series of top-level answers to questions that are often raised over the course of our client relationships.

It’s important to note that you should not proceed with any investment decision on the basis of the advice contained in these papers without further consultation with Middleton or other professional advisors. Information accurate at publication date of December 2021

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