Planning In The Green Belt?

Permitted Development Rights

Obtaining a satisfactory planning consent is key to unlocking value whether for your own use, to let or to sell.

Unleash added value by obtaining planning permission for a change of use.



The re-use and adaptation of existing buildings can reduce the need for greenfield sites for new development, diversify the range and type of development and stem the gradual deterioration of the fabric of the buildings. Vacant buildings are prone to vandalism and dereliction, which can detract from the visual amenity of the general surroundings. Conversion and change of use can benefit buildings within settlements and the countryside.

The re-use or adaptation of agricultural and other rural buildings for new uses is generally acceptable provided their form, bulk and general design are in keeping with their surroundings. It is, however, important to ensure that in allowing the re-use and adaptation of buildings, the changes that are made do not have a detrimental impact upon the character of the building or the surrounding area in which they are situated.

Proposals for conversion which respect local building styles and materials are more likely to be acceptable. The building should be large enough for the proposed use and not require significant enlargement or alteration. It should also be structurally sound and capable of conversion without the need for major rebuilding. In rural areas, the re-use of existing buildings can assist in employment diversification and usually requires only limited adaptation. This type of re-use of buildings provides genuine farm diversification, helping to ensure continued income for the farm enterprise and is preferable to residential conversion which has only a minimal impact on the rural economy.

With General Permitted Development Order 2015 (GPDO) Classes Q/R/S in place for Residential, Commercial and Educational uses and with clearer policy in the National Planning Policy Framework, the balance has shifted significantly in favour of well-designed conversions. Where proposals fit the conditions of Classes Q/R/S, the Local Planning Authority can no longer refuse consent to the change of use as such. It can refuse to grant prior approval, but only on the specific matters which require prior approval eg flooding, access or noise problems which the applicant has not adequately addressed.

Classes Q/R/S are an excellent opportunity to give a new future to traditional farm buildings. Unfortunately they do not apply to Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments, National Parks, AONB’s, the Broads or World Heritage Sites but this does not prevent full planning applications being submitted.

Change of use can also apply to land as well as buildings, for example the change of use of agricultural land to a recreation ground or domestic garden. Although this does not involve any physical structures or buildings it can still affect the appearance and character of an area, especially in the open countryside.

If you would like a free no obligation planning appraisal on your land and buildings or have any queries please contact Miller & Miller, Rural Surveyors. Your building may fall within one of the GPDO Use Classes and now is the time to act and obtain a planning consent.