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Changes in the law in relation to barn conversions and planning permission

You may have heard in the news that planning law in relation to barn conversions will be changing. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment and Consequential Provisions) (England) Order 2014 (to give the legislation its full name) will come into effect on 6 April 2014.

Communion Architect spoke to David Keyte of DK Planning & Development to find out what the changes mean and how they will affect barn owners thinking about a conversion.

What is changing in relation to barn conversions and planning permission?

The legislation means that some barns on agricultural units will no longer require planning permission to be converted into dwellings. Such barn conversions will instead be considered to be permitted development. If your barn is considered permitted development, you have permission to change the barn’s use from agricultural to a dwellinghouse, modifying the external appearance as needed to facilitate this. You will not need to seek planning permission.

The change is in order to help with the Government’s drive to create more homes more quickly.

How do I know if my barn conversion will need planning permission or not?

There are some hard and fast rules and some grey areas. Here are some of the situations where your planned barn conversion will not be permitted development and will still need planning permission:

  • if it is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  • if it is a listed building
  • if it isn’t on an agricultural unit (e.g. if the barn is in a garden or paddock rather than on a farm).

Outside these rules, there are numerous grey areas that may affect your barn. Your local planning consultant will be able to advise you if your planned conversion is permitted development or not.

My barn conversion will be considered permitted development. Can I start work straightaway?

No. If your barn conversion is permitted development, you need to submit prior notification to your local planning authority before you start work. The barn’s site will then be checked for factors such as flood risk, contamination, highway safety, noise, etc. Assuming that there are no concerns, you can start work on the conversion.

Is there anything else I need to be aware of?

If you’re a farmer, yes. Farmers need to be aware that, if they convert a barn, any new barn erected on the farm in the following ten years will no longer be considered permitted development. Instead, planning permission will be needed.

If you require any more information on the new laws or you are considering developing a barn yourself please do not hesitate to contact us on 01743 453436.

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