Class R – agricultural buildings to a flexible commercial use Permitted development
This allowance is effected by the changes to the Use Classes Order and it is anticipated that this allowance will be tidied up in August of 2021 in line with the current government consultations. Reference to the Use Classes should be taken from the pre-2020 Use Classes Order.
What is allowed
Development consisting of a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use as an agricultural building to a flexible use falling within Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services), Class A3 (restaurants and cafes), Class B1 (business), Class B8 (storage or distribution), Class C1 (hotels) or Class D2 (assembly and leisure).
Where can I use it
On existing Agricultural Buildings that are part of – or were formally part of an Agricultural Business on or before 3 July 2012 and are not listed.
What is not allowed
Development is not permitted by Class R if—
- the building was not used solely for an agricultural use as part of an established agricultural unit on 3rd July 2012;
- 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 building which was brought into use after 3rd July 2012, for a period of at least 10 years before the date development under Class R begins;
- the cumulative floor space of buildings which have changed use under Class R within an established agricultural unit exceeds 500 square metres;
- the site is, or forms part of, a military explosives storage area;
- the site is, or forms part of, a safety hazard area; or
- the building is a listed building or a scheduled monument.
How do I use the allowance
This is a prior a approval permitted development allowance and as such it is subject to an assessment of the following criteria:
Where the cumulative floor area of the buildings changing use is less than 150sqm in size
- the date the site will begin to be used for any of the flexible uses;
- the nature of the use or uses; and
- a plan indicating the site and which buildings have changed use
Where the cumulative floor area of the buildings changing use is greater than 150sqm in size
- transport and highways impacts of the development;
- noise impacts of the development;
- contamination risks on the site; and
- flooding risks on the site,
Class R is interesting. It has been much lauded over on social media as another way to convert barns within the countryside however the PD allowance itself is often miss-understood. If using Class R you must recognise that you never get a true use of the site as condition R.1.(b) confirms that the development creates a sui-generis use and not a true use.