Changes To Permitted Development For Farms

A recent announcement from the Government regarding the rules of agricultural buildings and changes to the Town & Country Planning Order (2015) brings with it some very exciting news for farmers.

If you are considering a new farm building, or a conversion for residential use, this information on the rules of agricultural buildings permitted development may be of particular interest.

New agricultural buildings

One major impact of this changed regulation is the size of the restriction of new agricultural buildings. This has been significantly increased, from 465sqm to 1000sqm, allowing for greater expansions within the farming community. The NFU has been lobbying for some time to boost farm productivity, so this is excellent news for the industry.

The other positive outcome from changes to this legislation is that any farm building falling within this 1000sqm size can be applied for under permitted development planning. What this means is that a shorter notification period of 28 days is required to the planning authorities. As opposed to the normal full 12-week planning procedure. So not only is it easier for farmers to expand, new agricultural buildings can be achieved in a much shorter time frame.

With the added benefit of a reduced planning fee of £96 due to the faster turnaround times (saving the local planning authorities valuable time). This certainly is going to give the farming community a huge boost post-Brexit.

Conversion of agricultural buildings to dwellings

Under these new guidelines, it is now possible to build up to 5 new dwellings on an agricultural site. The maximum floor area for agricultural conversions has also increased from 450sqm to 865sqm which is fantastic news.

Here are the specific developments which are now allowed, as outlined by the new permitted development rules:

  • Up to 3 larger homes, with a combined maximum floor space of 465sqm; OR
  • Up to 5 smaller homes, each no larger than 100sqm; OR
  • A mixture of the two, with a total of no more than 5 homes. No more than 3 of these can be larger homes.

This change gives even more freedom to landowners, allowing you the opportunity to turn those redundant buildings into something a lot more useful! Providing the opportunity for much needed rural housing on underutilised sites. It is worth noting that applications do sometimes meet resistance from the council, so make sure you have a good case prepared before putting your application through.

Change of use of storage units to residential

The final part of this new permitted development is an extension to the benefit surrounding changing the use of buildings from B8 (storage and distribution), to residential use. Farmers now have up until 10th June 2019 to use this rule, and fast-track the conversion of no-longer needed storage buildings into residential buildings.

Again, this is great news for the ever-expanding farming community, and allows a huge potential for redevelopment. Do ensure that you read up on all the planning regulations before embarking on a conversion though – full planning application is likely to still be required.


So overall, these new changes as outlined by the General Permitted Development Order really are showing a shift towards growing the farming industry. Making the process to re-use buildings that are no longer serving a purpose, and by helping land owners diversify.

If you are seriously considering making the most of this opportunity (and short planning process!), contact us today. Experts at designing, fabricating and erecting agricultural buildings to meet your individual requirements.

With extensive building consultancy & planning knowledge, we will do our very best to speed up the planning process too.