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Reviving your disused farm buildings

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In May this year the changes to Permitted Development Rights came into effect offering significant potential to revive disused farm buildings and capitalize on existing buildings.

Buildings which were in sole agricultural use as of 3 July 2013 and had been used for agricultural purposes for a minimum of 10 years are eligible for change of use without the need for planning permission. The buildings must be of a maximum area of 500 square metres.

Eligible buildings can be put to alternative uses such as shops, restaurants, small hotels, leisure facilities (including equestrian) and offices by simply applying for prior approval of the local planning authority. This costs £80 and a decision will be made in 28 days. If no response is received within 28 days, then work can begin.

If the building is of an area of less than 150 square metres, the local planning authority simply needs to know the new purpose of the building and when it will change, as well as a floor plan.

The Government opened a consultation on 6 August 2013 looking at the reuse of existing agricultural buildings for dwelling houses.

It is proposed that up to 3 additional dwellings, with an upper threshold of 150 square metres for a single dwelling house, can be converted on an agricultural unit which existed in March 2013. Local planning authority prior approval will be required to ensure that the physical development complies with local plan policies on design, materials and outlook, and to ensure that the change of use takes place only in sustainable locations.

The consultation closes on 15 October 2013.

It is important to note that the new policy only relates to change of use. External alterations or new development still require planning permission.

The change in policy will help many disused farm buildings to be revived rather than left to fall into disrepair.

If you are looking to change the use of your agricultural buildings and require advice, or you would like documentation preparing for the letting of any building, then I would be happy to help in this regard.