Changes to class Q and R permitted development rights – Agricultural buildings/barns to residential

From 21st May 2024, some changes to existing Permitted Development Rights (PDRs) have come into effect in England and Wales.


Change of use of Agricultural Buildings

The Class Q Permitted Development Rights have been amended to allow the change of use of not only buildings on agricultural units but also former agricultural buildings.

As of the 21st May 2024, the provision of five dwellings with a maximum floorspace of 865m2 will increase to allow the use of up to 10 dwellings with a new total maximum floor space limit of 1000m2. Each dwelling will be limited to 150m2 each.

Furthermore, restrictions on development will be relaxed as rear single-storey extensions will also be allowed for Class Q proposals. There are conditions, such as the extension must be located on an existing hard surface, however, this should open up new opportunities for smaller buildings to be converted.

The amendments to these rules highlight that they prohibit the conversion of a building without an existing suitable access to a public highway.

Class R changes

Permitted Development Rights under Class R allow landowners to convert buildings from agricultural to commercial use. From the 21st May 2024, these regulations will now allow for buildings to be changed to sport and recreational use as well as general industrial use for the purpose of processing raw goods produced on the agricultural site.

The maximum floor space has also been increased from 500m2 to 1000m2.

Other development changes

For new agricultural buildings, the size of the build has been increased. Any farms with over 5ha, permitted development rights have increased to allow the erection of agricultural buildings from 1000sqm to 1500sqm. For farms with less than 5ha, the ability to extend existing agricultural buildings will be increased from 20% to 25%.

Here at Fibre Architects, we have extensive experience using class Q Permitted Development Rights. If you have a former farm building that you’re considering converting to a residential property, we would be more than happy to have a conversation and help provide advice on the best way forward.

We have quite a few barn conversion projects that we have worked on and are currently working on, take a look below: