Class Q permitted development or full planning permission: which to choose?  

Barn conversions require either ‘prior approval’ under Class Q permitted development or full planning permission...

If you are planning a barn conversion project you will need to obtain either ‘prior approval’ under Class Q permitted development or full planning permission.

The type of permission you need will depend on the nature of your project. Here is a quick look at how they differ, which one will be most suitable and why you may require a combination of the two:

Decision-making process

Class Q permitted development is an objective decision: your barn will either pass or fail. If you can put together a strong case and pull together relevant evidence that shows your barn passes, it must be given permission under Class Q rights.

Planning permission is a much more subjective decision. You will need to build a case showing the conversion will be in keeping with its original surroundings, will maintain the character of the original building and will respect protected wildlife species and their habitats.

Type of barn

Class Q potentially applies to any enclosed agricultural building, whereas planning permission will want to see that the application seeks to preserve or enhance a significant landscape feature.

As a result, modern barns or barns that do not have any historical significance may have more success under the Class Q route than the traditional planning permission one.

Completion of project

Class Q was introduced to get more homes into the system more quickly, therefore it puts stipulations around timescales.

For example, under Class Q, your conversion must be completed within three years – a short timescale for what is likely to be a significant project.

Therefore, if you are in any doubt about your ability to complete the project within this time frame, a further application to secure planning permission should be considered as this will allow extra time.

Similarly, this approach should be considered if you are buying a property with Class Q permission, as you are likely to have an even shorter timescale to work with.

Peace of mind

Class Q is a piece of legislation that could be withdrawn at any time, so relying on it entirely could be risky.

Planning permission is a much more reliable and permanent decision.

To provide an extra level of reassurance, it is often worth seeking Class Q permission for a project then following this up with an application for planning permission.

Planning advice from CR Design Services

The decision about whether your barn can be converted under Class Q or requires planning permission isn’t always a straightforward one, and your architect can help you navigate the complexities.

As part of our concept design and planning package, CR Design Services will refer to both Class Q and local planning rules to pull together a strong case for your application to the council.

We will also provide an in-house planning consultant to ensure the best possible chance of planning success.

To find out more about our barn conversion design packages, get in touch.

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