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Changes ahead in the world of planning
23 August 2023

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is running a consultation until 25th September 2023 on a proposal to further relax Permitted Development Rights for selected categories of development.

The Government is looking to ensure that the planning system is efficient, effective, responsive and delivers beautiful and well-designed development. This consultation requests views on proposals designed to promote the delivery of well-designed development and support housing delivery, the agricultural sector and economic growth.

Some of the main highlights in the consultation paper include the following proposals:

Change of use of buildings within the commercial, business and service use class to residential use (MA)

  • Either double the current permitted floor space of 1,500 sq m to 3,000 sq m or remove the limit all together.
  • Proposal to remove the requirement for the property to be empty for three months before application.
  • Widen the scope for commercial conversions to include the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks.

Agricultural buildings to houses (Class Q)

  • Double the maximum number of dwellings from five to ten.
  • Increase the maximum floor space from 865 sq m to 1,000 sq m. 
  • Allow for single storey rear extensions to be created.
  • Allow work to take place in conservation areas, AONB and National Parks.
  • To be extended to former agricultural buildings that are no longer on an established agricultural unit or to buildings that are not used solely for agricultural purposes.
  • Possible extension of rights to equestrian or forestry buildings.

Agricultural buildings to a flexible commercial use (Class R)

  • Extend these rights to include outdoor sports, recreation and fitness, e.g. paintballing but not motor sports.
  • The rights might extend to all B2 (general industrial uses) to only allow processing of raw goods produced on the site and to be sold on the site, excluding livestock.
  • Proposal to double the maximum floorspace from 500 sq m to 1,000 sq m and allow for multiple uses at the same time.
  • Possible extension of rights to equestrian or forestry buildings.

Agricultural development on land over 5 hectares (Part 6, Class A)

  • Extended barns could increase in size from 1,000 sq m to 1,500 sq m.
  • New buildings would still be limited to 1,000 sq m. 

Agricultural development on land below 5 hectares (Part 6, Class B)

  • Existing barns to be extended by 25% with an overall limit of 1,250 sq m.
  • Extensions to the cubic content of the original barn to increase by 25%.

Please note that the above list is not exhaustive.

Abel Bunu, Principal Planner, comments “As usual, we expect that if the proposed changes succeed, they will come with a raft of qualifying criteria to be satisfied before enjoying the Permitted Development Rights. Nevertheless, the additional flexibility offered would increase the opportunities for development of agricultural land and buildings.”

Responses to this consultation can be sent via the online link here or via email to It is important to respond where applicable as all responses are reviewed when determining whether the changes are to take place.

Please note that local planning authorities have the right to withdraw Permitted Development Rights and so it is important to act quickly before this happens.

If you would like more information on the above or would like to find out how our Planning & Development team can help you take advantage of the changes being introduced to the planning system, please contact Abel or David.

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