Plan­ning and farm build­ings

Seek ex­pert ad­vice and think care­fully be­fore de­vel­op­ing re­dun­dant agri­cul­tural build­ings, ad­vises Nial Cas­selden

Cheshire Life - - Property -

The idea of de­vel­op­ing re­dun­dant agri­cul­tural build­ings fol­low­ing re­cent changes to plan­ning law may seem at­trac­tive, but it might be wise to con­sider a wider strate­gic ap­proach.

To boost hous­ing sup­ply in the coun­try­side, in April the Gov­ern­ment al­tered the Class Q per­mit­ted de­vel­op­ment leg­is­la­tion which al­lows the con­ver­sion of agri­cul­tural build­ings into houses with­out the need for plan­ning per­mis­sion.

It is now fea­si­ble to cre­ate up to three larger homes with a max­i­mum com­bined floorspace of 465sq m, or up to five smaller dwellings, each hav­ing a max­i­mum floorspace of 100sq m. A mix of both is also pos­si­ble to a max­i­mum of five houses; three of these may be larger homes ex­ceed­ing 100sq m.

The re­quire­ment for a build­ing to be struc­turally strong enough to bear the weight of con­ver­sion work has gone; struc­tural re­in­force­ment is now ac­cept­able. Lo­cal plan­ning au­thor­i­ties may not refuse ap­pli­ca­tions due to the ex­tent of in­ter­nal work needed.

An­other po­ten­tial op­por­tu­nity arises with the change in the size of new agri­cul­tural build­ings al­low­able through per­mit­ted de­vel­op­ment rights; for larger farms this has in­creased from 465sq m to 1,000sq m.

How­ever, op­por­tu­ni­ties come with pros and cons. It may be im­por­tant to con­sider suc­ces­sion plan­ning as part of any scheme; for in­stance, a farmer with a son or daugh­ter com­ing into the busi­ness may want to pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for him or her. It may be strate­gic to con­sider ap­ply­ing for a house with an agri­cul­tural tie and re­solve this be­fore de­vel­op­ing re­dun­dant barns, there­fore max­imis­ing de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­nity on the hold­ing.

The suc­cess of a pro­posal de­pends on whether it can be de­scribed as a `con­ver­sion’ or whether it is re­ally a re­build. This is a grey area and pro­fes­sional ad­vice may clar­ify chances of suc­cess. Nial Cas­selden, As­so­ciate Direc­tor (Plan­ning). For ad­vice, con­tact Fisher Ger­man’s Ch­ester of­fice on 01244 409660.

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