The Countryside Alliance has used the Government’s Rural Planning Review to call for changes to permitted development rights which would mean farmers no longer have to choose between their residential or agricultural permitted development.*

Under our proposals farmers will have greater flexibility on when they are able to use their Class Q rights to convert from agricultural to residential use which will help deliver sustainable housing development, support agricultural businesses, and protect the amenity of the countryside.

Our proposal will result in greater fairness with the use of these rights. At present those farmers who used Class A or B development rights before 20 March 2013 are able to use their rights under Class Q but those who have used them since this date will have to wait ten years before having the opportunity to do so. Ten years is a long time in farming given how quickly the industry is changing and the planning system must promote flexibility to encourage farmers to develop and diversify their businesses.

We are also mindful of the need to support the tenanted sector and we support the continuation of the conditions which prevent landlords from using Class Q development rights without the consent of an existing or recently departed tenant farmer.

Sarah Lee, Head of Policy at the Alliance, comments: “Farmers in many sectors are facing the worst trading conditions in a generation. It is vital that the planning system supports sustainable development and diversification projects, particularly during these challenging conditions for the farming industry. We believe that given the other conditions contained in Class Q, the need to make these rights conditional upon the use of Class A or B rights is an un-necessary burden and should be removed. We are not calling for an extension of Class Q permitted development rights but simply believe that farmers should have greater flexibility in when they can use them.”

*Under the existing conditions, contained in the (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, if a farmer uses their permitted development rights under Class A or B to build a new barn or grain store on their farm they must wait ten years before being able to use their permitted development right under Class Q to convert agricultural buildings to residential use.

To view our full submission please click here