Property & Business - Winter 2020

PROPERTY | BUSINESS | PLANNING | ENERGY 19 Conver ting Modern Agricultural Buildings - Class Q Readers may not be aware that “modern” farm buildings, with no architectural merit, can in some cases be converted to dwellings under permitted development rights (Class Q). Class Q was introduced under The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order in 2015 and updated in 2018 to enable conversion of farm buildings for residential use. It is a more straightforward method of obtaining a change of use without submitting a full planning application. The 2018 Order allows for three larger dwellings (floor space of more than 100m2 but less than 465m 2 ) or five smaller dwellings (floor space of no more than 100m 2 ) to be permitted. The other requirements are retained in the 2018 Order and careful considerations is still essential to ensure these can be met. One factor which remains a contentious issue is what constitutes “a building” and how much work is permitted in order to “convert” a building. The Order specifically states that rebuilding work is not allowed but does allow building operations which are reasonably necessary to convert the building, which may include those which affect the external appearance of the building and would otherwise require planning permission. This can include the installation or replacement of windows, doors, roofs, exterior walls, water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services. The interpretation of what constitutes “conversion” is complex which has been the subject of much challenge and the creation of a considerable amount of case law. In simple terms a steel portal building with a roof and one or two walls would not be convertible, but a building with four bricks walls and a roof is certainly suitable. Unfortunately, the conversion potential of building types between these two extremes still remains open to much interpretation. In some areas, such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Part Q does not apply, so to convert buildings in these areas a full planning application is needed. JHWalter have been successful in helping owners repurpose old buildings by converting them into dwellings under Class Q with two examples shown below. Example 1 was for two single storey three bed dwellings and the second example was for one, four bedroom dwelling. James Lambert BSc (Hons) MSc MRTPI Chartered Town Planner e t 01522 504329 Example One Example Two Planning Potential in Central Lincolnshire The Central Lincolnshire Local Plan (CLLP) has been guiding decisions on planning applications in Lincoln, Nor th Kesteven and West Lindsey since it was adopted in April 2017. As many readers may be aware, the plan is in the process of being reviewed and changes will be made. The next stage was a public consultation in the Spring but this has been delayed due to the impacts of Covid19 and now the Government’s Planning White Paper consultation. The CLLP consultation is due to star t at the end of 2020 or early next year but there may be fur ther delays. We will be keeping a close eye on its progress. As these policy changes could impact on the residential development potential for some small and medium sized villages, the Planning Team at JHWalter continues to under take research into the oppor tunities that exist here. This brings together an assessment of a range of constraints (for example, flood risk, access, landscaping impacts) with knowledge of the volume of new homes suppor ted by the current Local Plan policy. Our findings indicate that there are many sites in these villages that could still benefit from planning permission for small residential schemes. A full list of the villages can be found HERE The recent Planning White Paper proposes the wholesale rewriting of Local Plans and if so this development oppor tunity could end in the near future. If you have land or proper ty in these locations and you think it might be suitable for development, we would encourage you to get in touch with our planning team to discuss the oppor tunity before changes to the planning policy take hold.