Structural works to barn conversion amount to rebuilding

Two dwellings from an agricultural building in open countryside in Lancashire was refused as permitted development under Class Q of the GPDO, 2015 because the building operations required to convert the building to residential use were not deemed reasonably necessary.

The agricultural barn had elevations comprising a dwarf brick cavity wall  with corrugated vertical sheet cladding above and with a duo pitched corrugated sheet clad roof. The floor was a concrete slab. The council contended that the proposed works to the agricultural building would be so extensive as to amount to the substantial re-building of the existing structure and go beyond what could reasonably be described as conversion under permitted development regulations.


The inspector agreed with the council. This was mainly due to the level of building works set out in the appellant’s structural survey which proposed a self-supporting timber frame structure within the existing steel-framed building. The inspector considered that the proposed lightweight timber-frame would perform a function beyond that of an internal wall as it would support new external timber boarding being used to replace the original sheet cladding fixed to the portal frame. As a consequence of this part of the building fabric being built independently of the steel frame, it introduced reasonable doubt in her mind that the existing frame was not strong enough to take the loading associated with external works reasonably necessary to provide for residential use. Having regard to the judgment in Hibbitt v SSCLG and Rushcliffe BC, 2016, the inspector concluded that the works would exceed what could reasonably be described as conversion and would comprise an element of rebuilding.