Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Class Q Ltd has successfully obtained permitted development rights for the conversion of disused piggery units into 4 dwellings to the delight of the landowner.
The project – Ridlington Barns in Rutland – was approved with conditions last week. The client will now convert two of the units into homes for family members. The remaining two units will be marketed for sale.
The application was initially lodged for the conversion to 5 dwellinghouses but the LPA deemed that proposed internal structural works to one of the buildings went beyond those which were reasonably necessary to convert it to a dwellinghouse. The requirement under Class Q is to demonstrate that the building is capable of conversion in its current form. The structural engineers report stated that "the existing buildings are, in my opinion, capable of functioning as dwellings, the proposed building work detailed in the structural survey is not excessive and does not go beyond what is reasonably necessary for the conversion of the buildings into dwellings."
The council did not agree with our assertion that, as our proposal to include metal portal trusses affected only the interior of the building, this did not constitute development as per section 55(2)(a) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and could therefore be carried out in any event, whether before, during or after the residential conversion of the building under Class Q.
Paragraph 105 of the Planning Practice Guidance holds that "internal works are not generally development. For the building to function as a dwelling it may be appropriate to undertake internal structural works, including to allow for a floor, the insertion of a mezzanine or upper floors within the overall residential floor space permitted, or internal walls, which are not prohibited by Class Q."
However, it was agreed with the landowner that, rather than pursue the lengthy appeal process, to reach a compromise with the LPA and withdraw the building in question from the development.
Rutland Council also cited uneven access as grounds for refusal on the basis that the propsed development would be impractical without "extensive" works. The council must, when detemining an application, consider "whether the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change form agricultural use to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Class Order."
Paragraph 109 of the Planning Practice Guidance provides, "that an agricultural building is in a location where the local planning authority would not normally grant planning permission for a new dwelling is not a sufficient reason for refusing prior approval...when looking at location, local planning authorities may, for example, consider that because an agricultural building on the top of a hill with no road access, power source or other services its conversion is impractical.”
Whilst the example provided in the Planning Practice Guidance is clearly just that, an example, there appeared to be a distinct lack of comparability with our proposal as regards impracticality. The revised Planning Practice Guidance clearly indicates ministers’ intentions as to the restricted scope for refusing permission on grounds relating to the impracticability or undesirability of the proposed change of use by reference to the location and siting of the building.
In a technical note, our traffic and transport consultant contended that the “existing access and internal surface are suitable and practical for the future use by the inhabitants of the proposed dwellings. It is considered that the existing access to the site is satisfactory to accommodate the access and egress of domestic vehicles and there is no sufficient evidence or non-compliance with planning policy which would determine that the existing access is not acceptable for domestic vehicles.” Whilst it was not seen as a pre-requisite, recommendations to “easily” improve the road surface were provided. A change of use at the proposed site was therefore demonstrably practical and realistic.
The application for 4 dwellings was subsequently approved with conditions.
This project was the first Class Q Ltd has secured in Rutland and ensured it retains its 100% success rate with permitted development applications.
Class Q Ltd’s renowned barn promotion service provides clients with a risk-free, one-stop solution for securing permitted development rights and adding substantial value to underused agricultural buildings.