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  • Writer's pictureSam Nolan RIBA Architect

Barn Conversion Class Q Checklist

We've produced the below check list for Class Q Barn Conversions development. If your barn does fall down on one aspect on the list it may be worth considering a full planning application for conversion.

Please get in touch and we can give you an early indication if we think your project may fit within permitted development or local plan planing policies.

1.0: Timings:

Was site used solely for an agricultural use as part of an established agricultural unit:

(i) on 20th March 2013, or

(ii) If before that date when last in use

(iii) if brought into use after 2013 for a period of ten years prior to the date of class Q application

Was the building brought into use prior to 2013 and last known use of the building agricultural?

2.0: Sizes:

Class Q allows no more than 3 larger dwellings (above 100msq each) to a maximum cumulative are of 465msq


No more than 5 smaller dwellings (less than 100msq each) to a maximum cumulative total of 500msq.

Or a combination of large and small

Maximum possible combination is 865msq. One unit of 465msq and four units of 100msq

3.0: Garden & Driveway Curtilage:

The area of the proposed curtilage of the building should not exceed the gross external floor area of the barn conversion.

4.0 Ownership & Occupation:

If the site is occupied under an agricultural tenancy the express consent of both the landlord and the tenant must be obtained . No issue if site is freehold with no agricultural tenancies in place.

5.0 Previous planning & prior approval:

There has been no development under Class A(a) or Class B(a) of of Part 6 of the General Permitted Development Order carried out on the established agricultural unit since 20th March 2013 or during the period which is 10 years before the date development under class Q begins.

6.0 No Extension Required:

The development should not result in the external dimensions of the building extending beyond the external dimensions of the existing building at any given point.

7.0 Substantive Rebuilding

Would the works go beyond conversion and require substantive rebuilding rather than conversion. This can be a grey area and can be subjective. We have been able to demonstrate on a number of schemes that the works were conversion works and would not require substantive rebuilding. Is the building mostly open sided and would required a good deal of infilling: enclosed buildings are preferred. Is the existing structure sound and capable of conversion? A structural report would be required to demonstrate that.

8.0 Site Location & Land Designations

The site should not be within article 2(3) land and within an SSSi, safety hazard area, military explosive storage area, close to a schedule ancient monument, a listed building or within the curtilage of a listed building. Any land or property designations will affect the permitted development right.

9.0 Highways, Access & Parking

Does the site benefit from adequate highway access and parking. Is there good visibility from the site. Would the development result in an unacceptable impact on highway safety or would the residual cumulative impacts on the surrounding road network would not be severe.

10.0 Noise, Contamination, Flooding

Does the site suffer from any Noise, contamination or flooding issues?

11.0 Location Impractical or Undesirable

Is the location particularly impractical, is it located very far away from a highway or in an inaccessible location and a good distance from utility services: water, electricity etc. Is the building located close to an intensive farming use which would make the change of use undesirable in terms of issues such as noise or smell: intensive chicken farming or close to a sewage treatment plant?

12.0 Design and External Appearance of the Building

Does the design reflect and uphold the inherently agricultural and rural character of the building and its setting. Would the application proposals lead to a significant improvement to the appearance of the existing building and its wider context. Would they be a positive enhancement to the site and bring a new viable use to the buildings to ensure their maintenance and upkeep into the future?

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