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Convert that cowshed!

View profile for Laura Ball
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The General Permitted Development Amendment Order 2018 which came into force in England on April 6 2018 provides farmers with greater opportunities for converting agricultural buildings into housing.

What’s changed?

Amendments made in 2014 permit the conversion of agricultural structures to residential homes without the requirement for planning permission. Instead, the developer has to obtain prior approval from the local planning authority that specified elements of the development are acceptable before work can proceed. The statutory requirements relating to prior approval are much less prescriptive than those relating to planning applications.

From April 2018, further amendments to the General Permitted Development Order have the effect of increasing the existing rights introduced in April 2014, most predominantly in relation to floor space and the number of homes being built.

Farmers can now convert five agricultural buildings into residential homes rather than the previously permitted three conversions. It is hoped that this increased freedom will encourage farmers to develop their buildings and boost the number of new homes created through the conversion of agricultural buildings to help meet local housing needs.

The new legislation also increases the size limits that apply to permitted developments on agricultural land. Specifically, it allows for up to three homes with a combined maximum floor space of 465 sq m; or up to five homes (each less than 100 sq m); or a mix of both, with a total of no more than five homes, of which no more than three may be larger homes.

The new amendments also extend the permitted development rights for farmers to erect, extend, or alter agricultural buildings or carry out any excavations or engineering operations on their land.

These new changes hope to support farming diversification and promote small scale housing developments that are in-keeping with the surrounding environment and reflective of local needs.

Before submitting any application to your Local Authority we advise that you seek the assistance of a Solicitor or Planning Consultant. It may be that work needs to be done to the agricultural building before an application can be made, and they can help mitigate the potential for any problems.

If you require any further advice on this, or any other Agriculture Law matter, please contact the Chattertons Agriculture law team at your nearest office.

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