Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Beyond the barn: New rules make agricultural conversions easier

New planning rules which come into effect this month will make it easier for farmers to convert redundant agricultural buildings into homes, according to chartered surveyors and property consultants Smiths Gore.

As of April 6, the General Permitted Development Order that allows disused buildings to be converted to residential use without the need for a more formal planning application is being extended to include farm buildings.

Buildings with a floor space of up to 450m2 that were in agricultural use on March 20, 2013, can now be converted into a maximum of three homes. Full planning permission will no longer be required, although schemes will need prior approval from the local planning authority. 

“Changes to Permitted Development is fantastic news for farmers, property owners and developers who are able to explore conversion as a means of making buildings more economically viable,” said Michael Wooldridge of Smiths Gore. 

“Whilst an application for prior approval will need to be made to assess whether there will be any significant impact on the local area, the amended regulations simplify the planning process significantly and open the door to alternative uses.” 

The new rules do not apply to buildings that fall within Conservation Areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or Sites of Special Scientific Interest, safety hazard areas or areas used for military explosives storage, where a full planning application will still be required.

For applications within Conservation Areas and the like, the new guidelines suggest planning consent will be forthcoming where the protection of the environment and landscape is in harmony with the social and economic wellbeing of the area.

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