Class Q – Planning Permission – Barn Conversions

What is Planning Permission under Class Q?

Class Q is a form of planning permission which allows owners to convert agricultural buildings under a rural ‘Permitted Development’ scheme. The Class Q permission was introduced in 2014 to help with a shortfall in rural living.

What are the Parameters?

Generally to qualify, buildings must have been used for agricultural purposes up until 20th March 2013.

The converted building must be under 450m2 and accommodate a maximum of three individual homes.

Gardens for these homes cannot be greater than the footprint of the existing building.

Unlike some previous restrictions on barn conversions, elements such as doors, windows and roofing can be replaced.

Part demolition is allowed but extensions are not.

Clients need to prove the structure can be converted, not rebuilt

Is it the Same as Planning Permission?

Part Q is planning permission, but uses a different set of rules and different way of achieving it. There are pre defined parameters (although different Local Authorities will have differing opinions on those) which need to be satisfied before you start the works.

How Does it Work?

Developers must submit a design and supporting documentation, such as an engineer’s report, to the planners before works commence. This allows them to obtain approval before the development takes place. This is called ‘Prior Approval and differs from a conventional application.

Barn conversions can create stunning spaces

What are the Pitfalls?

Like any design project, it requires real understanding of the situation to avoid disappointment. A lot of clients are temped to just get on with the building because it’s ‘allowed’, it’s ‘Permitted Development’. This is most certainly a mistake.

Unfortunately, it is no quicker than a conventional application as a design and application is required.

The planners fully accept to allow these applications in principle but the details can still be difficult to negotiate.

What are the Advantages?

Permission will be granted if developers meet the pre defined criteria set out by their Local Authority. It should be easy to work this out before spending any money on professional fees.

Less information is required at the ‘Prior Approval’ stage, however it is still important to gain some critical information, like an engineers report.

Lots of traditional features contribute to great interiors

How Should You Approach a Class Q Project?

It is important to get the right advice from the start. Developers need to engage an architect from the outset so they have the best chance of putting together a good application pack.

Developers can view this as a two stage application process. First, an initial scheme design for the Prior Approval and, once approval has been granted, a more detailed drawing package.

If you are considering a barn conversion and would like more information on Class Q, please call Walters Architects and speak to one of our design team.

Barn conversions can be very rewarding