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2024 Permitted Development Right Changes for Agricultural Buildings

The UK Government has announced major changes to permitted development rights for agricultural buildings effective 21 May 2024. These changes present huge new opportunities for barn conversion projects, agricultural development, and farm diversification without the need for planning permission.

Barn Usage Permitted Development Rights
Somerset Agricultural Barn

Legislation changes announced on 30 April 2024 'will support the agricultural sector and rural communities by providing further flexibility for farmers to undertake works on their agricultural units, enable the development of former agricultural buildings, farm diversification, and delivery of new homes without having to submit a planning application.'

These changes relate to:

  • Class Q: Conversions of agricultural buildings to dwellings 

  • Class R: Changes of use of agricultural buildings to flexible commercial uses

  • Part 6: General agricultural permitted development rights for farmers 

New opportunities for clients in rural areas

The new permitted development rights will present new and exciting opportunities for clients in rural areas to maximise the development potential of redundant buildings. For farmers, they will provide greater flexibility to erect and develop buildings suited to modern agricultural practices. 

We've put together a summary of the new legislation below.

For more in-depth advice, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of Salmon Planning Company's team of chartered planning consultants and architects today at

Changes to Class Q – barns to dwellings

The key changes to Class Q:

  • New Class Q legislation will allow a building on an existing agricultural unit and former agricultural buildings previously part of an established agricultural unit to change use to dwelling houses. 

  • Up to 10 dwelling houses (formerly five units) will now be allowed to be delivered with 1,000 square metres of floor space (formerly 865 square metres) for change of use. 

  • The provisions for more extensive and smaller dwelling houses are replaced by a maximum floor space per dwelling house of 150 square metres. 

  • As part of the change of use, the amended right also permits the erection of a single-storey rear extension that does not extend beyond the rear wall of the existing building by more than 4 metres and is on land covered by an existing hard surface.

  • To support operations for the change of use, the right now allows protrusions to the external dimensions of the building of up to 0.2 metres to accommodate fixtures and fittings, such as windowsills and guttering. 

  • In addition, the amended right requires that the existing building (pre-development) must be capable of complying with the nationally described space standards and have existing suitable access to a public highway to benefit from the right.

Changes to Class R - agricultural buildings to flexible commercial uses

The key changes to Class R:

  • The new permitted development rights increase the floor space that can change use from 500 square metres to 1,000 square metres. 

  • The legislation expands the range of uses for an agricultural barn. Uses to include now general industrial purposes (Class B2), the provision of agricultural training, and use as an area or place for outdoor sports or recreation. There are limitations to the general industrial use insofar as it must only be used for the processing of raw goods (excluding livestock), which, other than ancillary goods, are produced on the site and sold on the site. Ancillary goods are minor components or materials used to produce the final product.

  • These new uses sit alongside the current Class R permitted development rights, which allow barns to change to Class B8 (storage or distribution), Class C1 (hotels) and Class E (commercial, business or service) uses.

Changes to Part 6 – carrying out agricultural-related development

The key changes to Part 6:

  • The new legislation increases the ground area that may be covered by any agricultural building erected, extended, or altered for 5 hectares or more agricultural units from 1,000 to 1,500 square metres.

  • Existing legislation permits the extension or alteration of existing buildings (but not the erection of new buildings), among other works, on agricultural units of less than 5 hectares. To provide farmers with greater flexibility, the new legislation increases the limit on the maximum cubic content by which an agricultural building may be increased from 20% to 25% and increases the limit on the ground area of any building extended from 1,000 square metres to 1,250 square metres. 

At Salmon Planning Company, we offer a comprehensive planning-led architectural design package to meet all your planning and design needs. Our team of Chartered Planning Consultants will be happy to discuss your project and guide you through the opportunities that the changes outlined in this blog might offer.

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