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Class R Permitted Development Conversions

Tue 6 October 2020

When it comes to converting agricultural buildings, the ‘Class R’ – Permitted Development is often forgotten about. The General permitted Development (England) Order 2015 allows for change of use from an agricultural building (and land within its curtilage to ‘flexible commercial use’

The commercial uses can fall within the following area

  • Class A1 (Shops)
  • Class A2 (financial and professional services)
  • Class A3 (restaurants and cafes)
  • Class B1 (business)
  • Class B8 (storage and / or distribution)
  • Class C1 (Hotels)
  • Class D2 (assembly and leisure)

Class R, has the benefit over Class Q more commonly used conversions as it can also be used for sites located in National Parks and AONB’s.

There are also always certain clauses which must be met in order to be able to apply for this policy,

  • The subject building needs to have been solely in agricultural use on the 3rd July 2012 (or when it was last in use).
  • If brought into use after 3rd July 2012, it must have been maintained in that use for a minimum of ten years.
  • The total cumulative floor area of the existing building(s) - within the planning unit - which have changed under Class R rights, must not exceed 500sq m.
  • The building(s) must not be:
    • a listed building (or within the curtilage of a listed building)
    • a scheduled monument (or part thereof)
    • form part of a (or be located within) a safety hazard area
    • form part of an explosives storage area

As part of the process some local authorities will require details up front regarding operation development aspects, whilst others are happy to condition these as a later requirement (before works can commence)

There are two options for Class R, briefly split into buildings below 150sqm, or buildings exceeding 150sqm. Should the floor area be in the lower category fewer consultations are required by the planning authority. In the higher floor area category, consultations regarding flooding, highways, contamination and noise all start to be taken into account more significantly.

Class R may certainly present you with more opportunities than the other traditional planning routes, however each building needs to be viewed on its own merits and your proposed future use.

McCartneys LLP Planning and Survey Department are able to advise you in all types of change of use planning applications and complex rural planning and survey matters. We are able to assist on such applications as

  • Conversions and New Builds
  • Farm Diversification including holiday accommodation, alternative land uses and residential development schemes.
  • Agricultural & Local Need Dwellings
  • Agricultural Buildings for a variety of uses
  • Lawful development Certificates.

For further information or to discuss any projects relating to the change of agricultural buildings to dwellings please contact your local McCartneys Planning and Survey Department

Geraint Jones BSc(Hons) MRICS - Kington Planning and Surveying Department

Tel: 01544 230316, 07875 222835 or email
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