Landowners intending to diversify the use of their agricultural buildings take note!

30 May 2014

On 30th May the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 (SI 2013/1101) comes into force. The order allows English landowners greater flexibility in the use of their agricultural buildings.

A new permitted use class M

Article 6(2) of the Order creates a new permitted use class M. From 30th May, subject to the conditions outlined below, planning permission is deemed to have been granted for a change of use of agricultural buildings and related curtilage land to:

  • Class A1 (retail);

  • Class A2 (financial and professional services);

  • Class A3 (restaurants and cafes);

  • Class B1 (business);

  • Class B8 (storage and distribution);

  • Class C1 (hotels);

  • Class D2 (assembly and leisure);

…but there are conditions!

Prior agricultural use

There is disappointment for some landowners that have already commenced or permitted a different use of their agricultural buildings. In order to benefit from class M, the building must have been used solely in agriculture since the 3rd of July 2012. If the use of the building commenced after that date then agricultural use must have taken place for ten years before class M can be used.

Floor space

The new rules do not apply where the collective floor space of the buildings within an original agricultural unit that have changed use exceeds 500 m2.

Other exclusions

Class M does not apply to a safety hazard area, military explosives safety area or buildings which are listed or a scheduled monument.

Notification required

There is a requirement that before commencing the new use the person wishing to use class M must notify the local planning authority.

Where more that 150m2 of floor space is involved in the change of use, the prior approval of the local planning authority is required in relation to transport, highways, noise impacts, contamination and flooding.

Further reading

Note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.