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Class Q – agricultural buildings to dwellinghouses

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What is allowed

Development consisting of a change of use of a building—

A change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use as an agricultural building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) together with building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses).

Where can I use it

On existing Agricultural Buildings that are part of – or were formally part of an Agricultural Business on or before 20th March 2013 and are not listed or in a Conservation Area.

What is not allowed

Development is not permitted by Class Q if—

  • the site was not used solely for an agricultural use as part of an established agricultural unit on 20th March 2013, or
  • in the case of a building which was in use before that date but was not in use on that date, when it was last in use, or
  • in the case of a site which was brought into use after 20th March 2013, for a period of at least 10 years before the date development under Class Q begins
  • In the case of a larger dwellinghouse, within an established agricultural unit—
  • (aa) the cumulative number of separate larger dwellinghouses developed under Class Q exceeds;
  • (bb) the cumulative floor space of the existing building or buildings changing use to a larger dwellinghouse or dwellinghouses under Class Q exceeds 465 square metres;
  • (ba) the floor space of any dwellinghouse developed under Class Q having a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order exceeds 465 square metres;
  • in the case of a smaller dwellinghouse, within an established agricultural unit—
  • (aa) the cumulative number of separate smaller dwellinghouses developed under Class Q exceeds; or
  • (bb) the floor space of any one separate smaller dwellinghouse having a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order exceeds 100 square metres;
  • the development under Class Q (together with any previous development under Class Q) within an established agricultural unit would result in either or both of the following—
  • a larger dwellinghouse or larger dwellinghouses having more than 465 square metres of floor space having a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order;
  • the cumulative number of separate dwellinghouses having a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order exceeding 5;
  • the site is occupied under an agricultural tenancy, unless the express consent of both the landlord and the tenant has been obtained;
  • less than 1 year before the date development begins—
  • an agricultural tenancy over the site has been terminated, and
  • the termination was for the purpose of carrying out development under Class Q, unless both the landlord and the tenant have agreed in writing that the site is no longer required for agricultural use;
  • development under Class A(a) or Class B(a) of Part 6 of this Schedule (agricultural buildings and operations) has been carried out on the established agricultural unit—
  • since 20th March 2013; or
  • where development under Class Q begins after 20th March 2023, during the period which is 10 years before the date development under Class Q begins;
  • the development would result in the external dimensions of the building extending beyond the external dimensions of the existing building at any given point;
  • the development under Class Q would consist of building operations other than
  • the installation or replacement of—
  • (aa) windows, doors, roofs, or exterior walls, or
  • (bb) water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services,
  • to the extent reasonably necessary for the building to function as a dwellinghouse; and
  • partial demolition to the extent reasonably necessary to carry out building operations.
  • the site is on article 2(3) land;
  • the site is, or forms part of—
  • a site of special scientific interest;
  • a safety hazard area;
  • a military explosives storage area;
  • the site is, or contains, a scheduled monument; or
  • the building is a listed building.
How do I use the allowance

This is a complex prior approval permitted development allowance and as such it is subject to an assessment of the following criteria:

  • transport and highways impacts of the development,
  • noise impacts of the development,
  • contamination risks on the site,
  • flooding risks on the site,
  • whether the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses), and
  • the design or external appearance of the building,, and
  • the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the dwellinghouses,
  • Compliance to the national floorspace standards for all applications submitted on or after 6th April 2021.
Our Notes

Class Q is one of the most complex Prior Approval allowances allowing for multiple permutations up-to the total number of allow dwellings.

Previous Class N – specified sui generis uses to dwellinghouses
Next Class R – agricultural buildings to a flexible commercial use Permitted development
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