New Permitted Development Rights for Farm Buildings come into Force this Week

On 21 May 2024 the government announced:

"Planning rules coming into force today make it easier to convert unused farm buildings into new homes, farm shops and gyms.

Farmers will be able to convert their unused buildings into new homes and shops thanks to new planning laws coming into effect today.

The major changes give farmers across England greater freedoms to diversify and grow their business, without having to spend time and money submitting a planning application.

They will be able to convert agricultural buildings and land into new lucrative business opportunities, such as outdoor sports facilities, larger farm shops and farm training centres, as well as housing, thanks to the changes to permitted development rights coming in today."

Of course this does not mean a complete free-for-all and it is likely you will still be required to make a contaminated land assessment. We have a great deal of experience of preparing reports for farm building conversions from Hampshire to Norfolk, from Kent to Oxfordshire.

Farming Minister Mark Spencer said:

"I am extremely pleased to support our farmers and provide them the freedom to decide the best uses for buildings on their land, without needless bureaucracy holding them back. 

We are listening to farmers and putting them at the heart of future development of our rural areas. Helping farmers secure their businesses and get on with the important job of producing food is our top priority."

The government website goes on to say:

From today, the Government is extending these rights to give farmers greater freedoms to diversify and convert agricultural buildings to commercial uses, as well as up to 10 homes, without needing to submit a planning application. ...

The changes will:

  • Double the amount of floorspace that can change from agricultural to ‘flexible commercial use’ from 500 square metres to 1,000 square metres. 
  • Increase the size of new buildings or extensions that can be built on farms over 5 hectares from 1,000 square metres to 1,500 square metres.
  • For smaller farms increase the size of such development from 1,000 square metres to 1,250 square metres.
  • Double the number of homes that can be delivered through the conversion of agricultural buildings from five to 10.

A successful project requires careful planning let us help with that by getting started early with your contaminated land assessment.