Class Q – Planning Permission for Barn Conversions

What is Class Q – Planning Permission for Barns?

Class Q – Planning Permission for Barn Conversions is a form of planning permission which allows owners to convert agricultural buildings under a rural ‘Permitted Development’ scheme.

Introduced in 2014 the scheme helps with a shortfall in rural living.

What are the Parameters?

Class Q covers buildings which had an agricultural use 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.

A new scheme allows the replacement of doors, windows and roofing. Previous scheme didn’t.

Whilst demolition will be granted, extensions are not.

Class Q - Planning Permission for Barn Conversions
Clients need to prove the structure can be converted, not rebuilt in order to achieve Class Q – Planning Permission for Barn Conversions

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 which vary from Local Authority to Local Authority.

Conversions are encouraged for this type of development. Therefore developers can proceed with some comfort.

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. Meeting predefined requirements makes this type of approval is more certain. It’s ‘Prior Approval’. It differs slightly from a conventional application where you design from first principles.

Class Q - Planning Permission for Barn Conversions
Barn conversions can create stunning spaces. Class Q can secure permission.

What are the Pitfalls?

Like any design project, understanding of the situation avoids disappointment. The scheme is for ‘Permitted Development’ so keep to the rules.

Prior Approval applications can take the same time as conventional planning applications.

The planners fully expect 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.

The ‘Prior Approval’ stage requires less detail.

It is still important to gain some critical information, like an engineers report, bat surveys etc.

Class Q - Planning Permission for Barn Conversions
More certainty is attached to a Class Q application

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. Walters Architects can help.

Developers can view this as a two stage application process. First, an initial scheme design for the Prior Approval. Secondly’ 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.

Class Q - Planning Permission for Barn Conversions
Barn conversions can be very rewarding

Alternatively visit the government planning website or check out the the Town and Country Planning Act

For examples of our work please visit our project page of our website.