Conversion of agricultural buildings - permitted development

On 9 November, the High Court handed down a significant judgment which will, in some cases, prevent landowners from relying on Class Q of the Permitted Development Order to convert agricultural buildings to dwellings.

Class Q  permits (a) the change of use and (b) building operations which are “reasonably necessary to convert” the building.   The question for the Court to resolve was whether conversion of the building implies into Class Q a limit on the works which are within the permitted development right.

The Court agreed with the Secretary of State’s argument that there is such a limit.

This leaves a question for the decision-maker to resolve as to whether the “conversion” works required, in the case of any particular Class Q application, are genuinely “conversion” or whether there is enough “fresh build” for the LPA to refuse the application.

We can expect to see LPAs seeking to use this case as another means to resist Class Q applications.