Agricultural Buildings Regulations

Do you know the Agricultural Buildings Regulations for when it comes to building on a smallholding?

Timmins Engineering are leading agricultural building manufacturers. Offering a full turnkey solution for steel building manufacturing, we are an award-winning, CE certificated company with over 35 years of experience.

To most who own a smallholding, whether a recent purchase or a long-standing family home, there is usually a plan for expansion on the horizon. But how much do you really know about the rules around building consulting and planning permission for building on your own land?

Is Planning Permission Always Required?

If you own land which you wish to develop on, you can add an agricultural building with the approval of local planning permission, providing the agricultural building meets the following criteria:

  • it is less than 465 square metres in size
  • built more than 25 metres from a motorway or other classified road
  • must not be specifically a dwelling
  • livestock buildings must be over 400 metres from any residence other than your own

This last point refers not only to livestock, but also to buildings used for slurry or sewerage, and obviously doesn’t include your own farmhouse. You only need to ensure it is more than 400m away from the curtilage of any dwelling, i.e. anyone else’s buildings.

It is also important to remember that the 400m rule only applies to new buildings, so you don’t have to look into getting retroactive planning permission for existing buildings.

There are some small exceptional circumstances to the above agricultural buildings regulations where permitted development rights are more relaxed. For example, if your smallholding is between 0.4 hectares and 5 hectares, you can extend any agricultural building by up to 10% of its cubic content, providing the external appearance remains mostly the same and the distance restrictions described above still apply.

How Long Does Planning Permission Take?

An application for Prior Approval must be determined within 56 days. If the local planning authority fails to do so, then Permitted Development rights to apply.


I Already Own Land, Can I Build A House Or Agricultural Building On It?

Without planning permission, no. If there was an enterprise established on the land making it essential to be living within sight and sound for most times of the year, excluding dealing with emergencies or security, assuming there were no suitable and available existing dwellings which could serve the need.

The only other possibility is the conversion of an agricultural building to a residential dwelling. In this case, the building must have been in agricultural use on March 20 2013, be structurally capable of taking the loading arising from the conversion and no more than 450 square metres, with no extension, subject to further detailed criteria.

agricultural buildings regulations

There is a common misconception agricultural buildings or the land they occupy would constitute brownfield land, and that this would in some way enable new residential development. This is not the case.

Because of the labyrinthine nature of the planning permission system, it is always a good idea to talk through the proposals with your local planning officer, as well as your neighbours, before doing anything which might need to be undone.


Timmins Engineering holds no responsibility over this information regarding Agricultural Buildings Regulations and it is down to the proprietor to check all guidelines with a local planning officer.