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Barn Conversion into a Dwelling, a Guide following changes to permitted development rights

Barn Conversion into a dwelling
Although permitted development rights now exist for a barn conversion into a dwelling there are some limits to this and there may well be other reasons for which a planning application is necessary. These are listed below:

  •  No. of dwellings, this is restricted to maximum of 3 per Agricultural Unit under Permitted Development.
  • Amount – the agricultural unit must not exceed 450m2 to be converted under Permitted Development. You could potentially get around this by only converting part of the barn.
  •  Biodiversity – are there bats living in the barn? All barn conversions require a habitat survey to ensure that bats/owls/great crested newts are not living in or around your barn. If evidence of protected species are found, this is not necessarily the end of the development as bat boxes can be provided for example.
  •  Access – there are rules for how far you need to be able to see (called a vision splay) when exiting a driveway, this depends on the speed limit of the road and will need to be presented to the council.
  •  Materials – As most barns are in rural areas, materials and window styles are likely to be an important issue with the local council. They will ideally like to see something that represents the local vernacular. However modern contemporary conversions are also a possibility if they are respectful of the surroundings.
  • Contamination – the local authority may insist on a ground contamination survey as agricultural sites can often be contaminated.
  • Flood risk – If the development is in a flood zone or near to one a flood survey must be carried out and may affect the chances for development.
  • Amount of re-build. Some councils do not accept any re-build while others accept an entire re-build. Although you may apply and receive Prior Approval under Permitted Development, if you want to change the existing appearance of the barn by re-building any part you would need to submit some kind of planning application, potentially only ‘Operations and Demolition in association with the Prior Approval’
  • A pre-application can often be a good idea to test ideas with the council prior to submitting a full application. It is a quicker and cheaper way of exploring the potential options for development of your barn. This is entirely private and not available online so it is also useful for potential buyers to test the water.
  • The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), though generally re-using existing floor space is exempt from CIL, if you are planning any extensions or new-build you could find yourself with a charge. Further reading here

whether the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to residential use

This extract from the Permitted Development rules in 2014 has since been amended to stop councils preventing barn conversions in the open countryside. Please see my more recent blog explaining the additions to the permitted development rules in 2015. For even more information relating to barn conversions see all of our barn related blogs in one place (under barn conversions on the sidebar to the right).

April 22, 2014
Barn Conversion into a Dwelling, a Guide following changes to permitted development rights

Barn conversion into a dwelling gets thumbs up from planners

CNA are pleased to report the results of a pre-application for conversion of a barn into a dwelling and workshop has been supported by the local authority. This comes after the recent change to permitted development rights to allow conversion of a barn into a dwelling.

April 22, 2014

New PD Rules for Barn Conversions filtering to local council level

At a recent planning meeting regarding a barn conversion into a dwelling, I was pleased to learn that the local authority has now received the planning reforms for permitted developments to barn conversions. This new legislation allows for conversion of barns into dwellings under permitted development rights. However there are limits on the amount of development and other factors may play a part such as distance from local facilities, biodiversity and access. However it was very pleasing to hear that previous reasons why a barn conversion was not possible for this particular project were overlooked due to the realisation that ‘the government must want these barn conversions to happen’. This is very good news for owners of dilapidated or little used barns and good news for the environment as surely this will mean that less new build homes are needed in green belt areas.

April 18, 2014