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Homes and The Countryside

Planning consultant David Kemp BSc (Hons) MRICS Barrister* (*non-practising) and Director at DRK Planning Ltd, comments

One of the much talked about property development opportunities arising from the Government’s July 2023 White Paper has finally landed.

On 30 April 2024, Government made the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Etc.) (England) (Amendment) Order 2024 (SI 2024 No. 579). This has introduced changes to the following permitted development rights, which will come into force on 21 May 2024:
◆ Class Q: agricultural buildings to dwellings
◆ Class R: agricultural buildings to a flexible commercial use

What does the legislation do?
This Order makes changes to permitted development rights that allow for agricultural development and the change of use of agricultural buildings to flexible commercial uses and dwellinghouses. The changes will provide greater planning flexibility to encourage rural growth, housing delivery and support the agricultural sector. The extent of this instrument is England and Wales.

Why are these new rules important?
These changes create new opportunities for residential and commercial development on sites in the countryside. This is especially useful given that many local authority planning policies discourage new dwellings in ‘countryside’ locations, i.e. outside the established settlement boundaries as shown on the local plan proposal map. However, under PD rights, such ‘in principle’ policy objections are not relevant and new dwellings or groups of new dwellings can be created in very desirable countryside settings.

As stated in the Explanatory Memorandum to the new law: “Permitted development rights have an important role to play in the planning system. They are a tool to support growth, by providing certainty and removing the time and money needed to submit a planning application. Permitted development rights can incentivise certain forms of development and provide flexibilities and planning freedoms to different users, including businesses and local authorities.” 

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