On 6 April 2018, new permitted development rules came in that allow the conversion of much larger barns than before to residential use.

Before 6 April, you could convert a barn with a floorspace of up to 450 sq.m. to up to 3 homes.

Now, it seems that you can convert a barn with a floorspace of up to 865 sq.m. to up to 5 homes.

The new permitted development right allows the conversion of up to 465 sq.m. of agricultural buildings to up to 3 “larger dwellings”, or up to 5 smaller homes, each with a floorspace no larger than 100 sq.m.

However, the permitted development rules appear to allow a “mix and match” as long as you meet all of the following requirements:
• the total number of homes created can’t be more than 5;
• the floorspace taken up by homes larger than 100 sq.m. can’t be more than 465 sq.m, and you can’t have more than 3 of these larger homes; and
• other smaller homes can’t be larger than 100 sq.m..

This means you should be able to convert agricultural buildings into one larger dwelling of 465 sq.m. plus 4 smaller dwellings each no larger than 100 sq.m. This is a total of 865 sq.m.

It is not absolutely clear that this was deliberate. It may be a loophole that closes soon.

Don’t forget that, even though this is permitted development, you still need to apply for “prior approval”, and there are other conditions you need to comply with.

So if you have a larger agricultural building that you want to convert to housing, contact Vision Planning ASAP.

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