This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with us first. The use or reliance of any information contained on this site is solely at your own risk.
Has any previous development taken place under Class Q on your site?
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Class Q permitted development allows for the conversion of an agricultural building or buildings to:
up to 3 larger dwellinghouses, to be greater than 100 square metres each, and within a maximum combined overall floorspace of 465 square metres; or
up to 5 smaller dwellinghouses each no greater than 100 square metres; or
up to 5 dwellinghouses comprising a mixture of larger and smaller homes, with neither exceeding the thresholds for each type of home.
For example, you could create 1 larger dwellinghouse of 465 square metres and 4 smaller dwellinghouses of 100 square metres each.
You can submit more than one Class Q application on a single agricultural unit provided the combined floorspace and number of units created does not exceed the limits set out above.
Was the site used solely for an agricultural use on or before 20th March 2013?
The residential conversion of a building that was brought into agricultural use after 20th March 2013 cannot be converted under Class Q within ten years after that agricultural use commenced. So, for example, if the agricultural use did not commence until 1st July 2015, the residential use of the converted building cannot commence until 1st July 2025.
Is the site's most recent use agricultural?
If, since the building was used for agriculture, it is then used in some way that represents a material change of use, then the agricultural use will be at an end, and that use will have been supplanted by the new use that replaced it; the building would therefore be disqualified. The crucial question, however, is whether such subsequent non-agricultural use did in fact represent a material change in the use of the building, or whether it was of no real significance in planning terms, so as to have been de minimis. We need to understand more about your building’s use in order to assess its eligibility.
Is the site occupied under an agricultural tenancy?
Development is not permitted by Class Q if the site is occupied under an agricultural tenancy (a tenancy under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 or under the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995), unless the express consent of both the landlord and the tenant has been obtained.
Has an agricultural tenancy over the site been terminated for the purpose of carrying out development under Class Q in the last year?
Development is not permitted by Class Q if, less than one year before the date development begins, an agricultural tenancy over the site has been terminated, and the termination was for the purpose of carrying out development under Class Q, unless both the landlord and the tenant have agreed in writing that the site is no longer required for agricultural use.
Is the site on land within:
Development is not permitted by Class Q if the building is is a scheduled monument, or is within a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Conservation Area or the Broads or is within a World Heritage Site. Development is also excluded from Class Q where the building is in a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), a safety hazard area or a military explosives storage area.
Class Q is NOT prohibited where the building sits within the Green Belt.
Are any of the buildings listed?
Development is not permitted by Class Q if the building is a listed building. A building can also be disqualified where it falls within the curtilage of a listed building where the curtilage bears a functional relationship to the listed building and where it forms one enclosure with it.
Have you used permitted development to erect, extend or alter agricultural buildings on you agricultural unit within the last 10 years?
Development under Class Q is precluded where permitted development has been carried out on the established agricultural unit since 20 March 2013 under Part 6, Classes A(a) or B(a) (works for the erection, extension or alteration of an agricultural building) or, where development under Class Q begins after 20 March 2023, within 10 years before the date when development under Class Q begins.
So, for example, if permitted development under Part 6, Classes A(a) or B(a) was carried out on 1st July 2015, development under Class Q cannot commence until 1st July 2025.
The government and planning authorities prefer development on brownfield sites; mostly because of their commitment to wildlife protection – something that greenfield sites pose a threat to. Because of this, brownfield sites have become a core attribute for the UK’s Sustainable Development Strategy and currently, the government are aiming to approve the planning permission for 90% of the UK’s brownfield sites by 2020.
Local councils are also keen to transform older, derelict buildings into useable properties; meaning it is much easier to gain permission to develop on brownfield sites.
In recent years, the development on greenfield sites has become a lot more restricted to prevent further, unnecessary loss to our countryside and wildlife. Development on Greenfield sites is more likely to be permitted where a site sits within or on the border of a village envelope. Depending on local policy and the size and sustainability of the town or village, it may also be necessary to demonstrate that a proposed development meets a local need for housing.
It is important to assess local planning policy to understand what proposals may be acceptable as this will differ between local authorities.
Planning policies generally support the replacement of existing dwellings however it depends on where the dwelling is located. For example, in the Green Belt the size of the replacement dwelling you can construct is very tightly controlled.
Would development result in a potential loss of employment?
Has the site been marketed for sale?
Planning policies aim to protect employment wherever possible and policy generally favours the redevelopment of commercial sites to new employment-generating uses. It is possible to partially or fully redevelop a commercial site for a non-employment-generating use (e.g. residential) however, such a proposal is usually required to demonstrate that the site is no longer viable for employment through a period of sustained and appropriate marketing. The marketing period varies between authorities but is generally between 6 months and 2 years with 12 months being the most common requirement.
Is the site on land within:
Great weight is given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which have the highest status of protection in relation to these issues. The conservation and enhancement of wildlife and cultural heritage are also important considerations in these areas, and are given great weight in National Parks. Where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, areas of poorer quality land should be preferred to those of a higher quality.
The scale and extent of development within these designated areas should be limited. Planning permission will generally be refused for major development other than in exceptional circumstances, and where it can be demonstrated that the development is in the public interest.
The Government attaches great importance to Green Belts. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence.
Planning authorities regard the construction of new buildings as inappropriate in the Green Belt. Exceptions to this are:
buildings for agriculture and forestry;
the provision of appropriate facilities (in connection with the existing use of land or a change of use) for outdoor sport, outdoor recreation, cemeteries and burial grounds and allotments; as long as the facilities preserve the openness of the Green Belt and do not conflict with the purposes of including land within it;
the extension or alteration of a building provided that it does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building;
the replacement of a building, provided the new building is in the same use and not materially larger than the one it replaces;
limited infilling in villages;
limited affordable housing for local community needs under policies set out in the development plan (including policies for rural exception sites); and
limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed land, whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings), which would:
not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt than the existing development; or
not cause substantial harm to the openness of the Green Belt, where the development would re-use previously developed land and contribute to meeting an identified affordable housing need within the area of the local planning authority.
Settlement Boundary or Open Countryside?
A settlement boundary is a line that is drawn on a plan around a village, which reflects its built form. This is also known historically as a ‘village envelope’. Planning policies favour development within a settlement boundary, particularly where the development proposal is residential in nature. The purpose of this is to avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside.
Land which borders of a development boundary can also be developed but it is important to consult the local plan (and neighbourhood plan, if you have one) to understand the vision for development within the town or village.
Planning policies and decisions avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside unless one or more of the following circumstances apply:
there is an essential need for a rural worker, including those taking majority control of a farm business, to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside;
the development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets;
the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and enhance its immediate setting;
the development would involve the subdivision of an existing residential dwelling; or
the design is of exceptional quality, in that it:
is truly outstanding or innovative, reflecting the highest standards in architecture, and would help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; and
would significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.