Agricultural Permitted Development Rights

Agricultural Permitted Development Rights

On 1 April 2021 a number of changes to permitted development rights for agricultural land were introduced. Below we provide an overview of the key changes to the existing permitted development rights for agriculture, including any conditions/rules that must be complied with.

This includes updates to:

  • the maximum floorspace surrounding development of buildings
  • converting what was previously an agricultural building for use as a dwelling
  • changes to the rules relating to “flexible commercial use” of an agricultural building
  • changes to the requirements for conducting peatland restoration

The key changes include:

Class Key changes
Class 18

Class 18 permits a very broad variety of general works on agricultural land connected with the agricultural use of that land. For example, subject to certain conditions, new agricultural buildings may be erected.

Whereas under the previous regime buildings erected under this provision (distinguished from any other works or structures) could not exceed 465m2, that limit now applies only where the building is situated in a “designated area”.

For the purposes of these Permitted Development Rights, “designated area” means— (a) a national scenic area; (b) a National Park; (c) a World Heritage Site; (d) a historic garden or designed landscape; (e) the curtilage of a category A listed building; (f) a site of archaeological interest; or (g) a conservation area.

For all other buildings erected under this class, the limit has been increased to 1,000 square metres.

Class 18B

This is a new permitted development right that has been introduced from 1 April 2021.  Change of use of an agricultural building to use as a dwelling is now permitted.

As noted, change of use of an agricultural building to use as a dwelling is now permitted.  Detailed rules are provided to govern this new permitted development right.  Some of the key rules are noted below, although this list is not exhaustive:

  1. Various works such as the installation of windows, drainage, electricity, and other comforts that dwellings ordinarily have are permitted as well but only “to the extent which they are reasonably necessary to convert the building to use as a dwelling”.
  2. The building must have been used solely for agricultural use on or prior to 4 November 2019. Buildings constructed after this date do not qualify.
  3. There is a 5 dwelling limit.
  4. The floorspace of each dwelling cannot exceed 150 square metres.
  5. The building to be converted cannot be listed, or located on croft land.

As a condition of converting the building prior approval of the relevant planning authority is required in respect of a number of matters, including the design and external appearance of the building, noise impacts, and access.

Class 18C

This is a new permitted development right that has been introduced from 1 April 2021.  Change of use of an agricultural building to use as a “flexible commercial use” is now permitted.

As noted, change of use of an agricultural building to use as a “flexible commercial use” is now permitted.  Detailed rules are provided to govern this new permitted development right.  Some of the key rules are noted below, although this list is not exhaustive:

  1. Various works such as the installation of windows, drainage, electricity, and other comforts that commercial units ordinarily have are permitted as well but only “to the extent which they are reasonably necessary to convert the building to a flexible commercial use”.
  2. The building must have been used solely for agricultural use on or prior to 4 November 2019.  Buildings constructed after this date do not qualify.
  3. The cumulative floorspace of any buildings developed under this Class must not exceed 500m2.
  4. The building to be converted cannot be listed.

As a condition of converting the building prior approval of the relevant planning authority is required in respect of a number of matters, including the design and external appearance of the building, noise impacts, and access.

For the purposes of these Permitted Development Rights, “flexible commercial use” means a use falling within the following classes of the Use Classes Order, or a combination of such uses—

(a)  class 1 (shops),

(b)  class 2 (financial, professional and other      services),

(c)  class 3 (food and drink),

(d)  class 4 (business),

(e)  class 6 (storage or distribution),

(f)  class 10 (non-residential institutions).

Class 20A

This is a new permitted development right that has been introduced from 1 April 2021.  Various works to restore peatland are now permitted.

As noted, various works to restore peatland are now permitted.  Development is permitted to carry out (i) works for the stabilisation, revegetation and re-profiling of bare peat and related drainage works, and (ii) the extraction of peat from within a peatland site for the purpose, and only for the purpose, of the use of such peat in the restoration of peatland within that peatland site.

 

Prior to beginning any restoration of peatland a peatland restoration scheme must be submitted to, and approved by, the relevant planning authority.  Class 20A provides further information about what the peatland restoration scheme must contain.

These rule changes are already being put to good use. We have recently provided advice to a client who is considering constructing a large agricultural shed and who would otherwise have had to make a full planning application. If you’re thinking of utilising existing agricultural land for something different, we’re here to help.

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