Permitted development rights consultation a boost for barn conversions, says Boodle Hatfield

The Government has launched a major consultation that will make it easier to convert redundant agricultural property into new homes.

The consultation sets out proposals to create new ‘permitted development rights’ which will allow owners of agricultural property to change the use of those buildings and carry out the associated physical works required to convert to residential use without the need for full planning permission.

Permitted development rights consultation a boost for barn conversions, says Boodle Hatfield
Saskia Arthur, partner in the Residential and Estates team at Boodle Hatfield said: “This consultation was first hinted at earlier in the year and its proposals are most welcome. The demand for attractive rural housing is high and this will give owners of empty or redundant property a great opportunity to breathe new life into their buildings.”

“Barn and agricultural conversions are always sought after and often command a premium, yet it can be very difficult to secure planning permission for change of use. Rural and agricultural estates will welcome these proposals.”

The consultation also proposes to introduce similar planning regulations for the conversion of shops into homes as part of the Government’s efforts to revitalize declining town centres.

Saskia adds: “The proposals will still allow the relevant authorities to exercise a degree of control over development, as maximum floor areas are proposed and areas such as conservation areas are likely to be excluded from the application of the new permitted development rights.

“Whilst the owners of many agricultural businesses and village shops are finding current trading conditions tough and would, no doubt, welcome the opportunity to convert to a potentially more valuable residential use, it is the rural ambience and amenity provided by the very same agricultural buildings and village shops that make rural communities attractive places to live. A balance will need to be struck between these competing interests.”