On 30th May 2013, new permitted development rights came into effect, which allow existing agricultural buildings to be used for a variety of non agricultural purposes without the need to obtain full planning permission.
The changes are potentially very helpful to farmers looking to diversify and obtain non agricultural income.
There are of course condtions which have to be met which need to be carefully considered.
Prior to 30th May 2013, if a farmer wished to make a material change of use to an agricultural building, then a specific grant of planning consent was required. The application would need to be justified on planning grounds and would be subject to consultation and scrutiny by the local planning authority(LPA, who could easily refuse permission if it conflicted with local planning policy.
The law has now changed with the addition of a new class M to the General Permiitted Development Order 1995, which allows an existing agricultural building and any land within its curtilage to change to any one of a number of specific uses as defined in the Use Classes Order 1987.
The permitted uses are:-
1.Shops Class A1
2.Financial & Professional Services Class A2
3.Restaurants & cafes Class A3
4.Business class B1 storage & distribution Class B8
5.Hotels Class C1 6. Assembly & Leisure Class D2
The new rights only authorise these specific uses so they do not authorise a change to residential use, a general industrial use or a drinking establishement eg pub or wine bar.
To qualify for this right the building must have been in agricultural use since 3rd July 2012 or if the use began after that date for a period of at least 10 years. In addition the cumulative floor space of buildings which have changed use under this new class M must not exceed 500 square meters.Listed Buildings and Scheduled monuments are excluded from the rights. If the proposal relates to a building of more than 150 square meters then prior LPA approval is required in respect of highway, transport, noise contamination and flood risk.This involves making an application including a written description and plan indicating the site showing the proposed development.The development must not begin until receipt of the LPA’s determination that prior approval is not required or receipt of a notice giving prior approval or the expiry of 56 days. The development must then be carried out in accordance with the details supplied to the LPA.
If you have suitable building(s) – please contact Simon V Ellis FRICS who will be glad to make the application on your behalf.