Class Q Planning Permitted Development Rights

Posted by The Landsite on 23rd June 2024 -


Class Q has been a real game-changer for rural communities in the UK. 

First of all – what is Class Q? 

Class Q permits the conversion of buildings on or around agricultural units (e.g a farm holding and barns) to houses without the need to apply for planning permission. 

I've seen firsthand how Class Q has revitalised neglected farm buildings and land.  Instead of letting these structures crumble away, developers are permitted to transform these buildings into refurbished homes that blend modern comforts keeping in with local identity and charm. 

It's a win-win – we get much-needed housing without sacrificing the character of our countryside.  This initiative not only helps tackle the housing shortage in rural areas, but also preserves our countryside's rich heritage.

Of course, there are challenges as is the case with most development projects.  Any potential development should not be located an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Park, or World Heritage Site and no listed buildings will be considered.

Residents in rural communities have genuine concern about the impact on local infrastructure, such as roads and utilities and there's always a debate about striking the right balance between development and preserving green spaces.

Overall, Class Q has been a positive factor for rural communities.  It's brought new families into areas where housing options were limited, helping to support local schools and businesses.  Plus, it's a sustainable approach to development – reusing existing buildings rather than tearing down and starting from scratch.

Find development sites, land and farm opportunities with Greenslade Taylor Hunt and Kivells

Updates on 21 May 2024

Another point worth mentioning here are the recent update changes which came into effect on 21 May 2024. 

·     The overall amount of cumulative floorspace builders can convert (now up to 1000 sqm)

·     Increased the number of houses that can be built (up to 10)

·     Allows for more flexibility on what buildings can potentially be used. 

·     It’s also worth mentioning here that the updated rules now curtail the maximum size significantly (down from 465 sqm to 150 sqm) and mandates that buildings must have adequate road access.

Class Q Development Opportunities

If you are considering a redevelopment project, developers need to be aware of the additional points: 

  • The building(s) to be converted were part of an agricultural unit on or before 24 July 2023, or if no longer part of one, not used for any non-agricultural purpose since that date.
  • Class Q does not permit the complete demolition and rebuilding of agricultural buildings - only partial demolition.  
  • Development needs to be within the existing footprint of the building.
  • You cannot apply Class Q to each agricultural building, it is applied to each agricultural unit. 
  • You can however convert multiple buildings to achieve the maximum floorspace and welling limits.
  • The Council will take into consideration the location of the building, for example proximity to disruptive agricultural operations.
  • Design. Proposal to redevelop should keep in line with the surrounding rural setting. 
  • The proposed dwellings meet national space standards.
  • The existing building should already be in good enough shape to be converted to a residential dwelling. 
  • You can add a 4 x 4 m single story rear extension if situated on hard standing which existed on 24th July 2023.
  • You still must go through a process with the council called 'Prior Approval'.

To learn more about Class Q, search our members planning consultants throughout the UK here.

Written by Ramsey Assal - Founder and CEO of The Landsite.

Similar articles you may be interested in reading:

Property Conversion: From Commercial to Residential

Delivering a New Build Development - A Property Developers Guide

Project Insurance and Build Warranty Requirements for Property Developers


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