Expand your agricultural development aspirations under the new permitted development rights (England)

New and enlarged permitted development rights for agricultural development came into force in England on May 21, 2024. These seek to further support the farming sector by expanding the nature and size of projects which can be undertaken on holdings without the need for full planning permission. Instead, applicants will need to make a Prior Approval application where only specific issues will be considered by the Local Planning Authority such as siting, design and external appearance. This process not only reduces the cost, but also the time involved in what can be a lengthy and expensive planning process.

These most recent changes, introduced under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development, etc) (England) (Amendment) Order 2024, No.579, have been welcomed by the National Farmers Union who described the new permitted development rights (PDRs) as supporting “the modernisation, expansion and diversification of farms massively”.

So what exactly do these new PDRs enable?

Part 6 Class A increases the floor area allowed on new agricultural buildings and extensions from 1000m2 to 1500m2 for holdings over 5 hectares. Similarly, the gross floor area for agricultural extensions on holdings under 5 hectares (under Part 6 Class B) has increased from 1000m2 to 1250m2. The cubic content limit of an agricultural building has also extended to 25% from 20%.

In terms of changes of use, Class R now allows agricultural buildings to be used for flexible commercial use including general industrial (B2 use) and sports and recreation (F2(c)). Class Q has also been extended to enable redundant agricultural buildings to be converted into a larger number of rural houses up to a maximum of ten (previously five). The new conditions place a maximum floor space of 1000m2 (increased from 865m2) for conversion with each unit of residential accommodation being limited to a maximum of 150m2 of floor space. Each unit of accommodation must satisfy the requirements of the National Space Standards as updated 2024.

It should be noted that permitted development has been removed where extensions and new buildings are to be located within the curtilage of a scheduled monument. This has been inserted in order to provide sufficient long-term protection of these assets.

A transition period will run until May 20, 2025. This allows applicants to continue to apply for prior approval under either the current or now superseded rights. It should be noted that the Planning Portal is currently updating the online application system to take account of these changes. Consequently, a blank PDF form is provided through the website to allow applications under the new extended criteria to be made. Alternatively, where the permitted development sits under the provisions within the superseded PDRs, applications for prior approval can continue to be made through the Planning Portal.

Rural Advisor Ltd can provide planning advice and assistance in making planning applications for a variety of agricultural, horticultural, residential and commercial development. Should you like to talk to talk to someone further about your project please don’t hesitate to contact the team at: advisor@ruraladvisor.co.uk or alternatively by telephone on: 0330 460949.

Dr Hazel Ann Nash, Planning Consultant