First floor in barn conversion is within scope of Class Q

The following appeal decision provides some welcome clarity in the uncertain world of prior approval applications.

In determining an appeal against the refusal of a prior approval application for a barn conversion in Herefordshire (DCS Number 200-004-967) an inspector decided that the creation of a first floor did not put it beyond the scope of Class Q of the GPDO.

The inspector recorded that S.55(2)(a) of the 1990 Act establishes that “the maintenance, improvement or other alteration of any building of works which (i) affect only the interior of the building, or (ii) do not materially affect the external appearance of the building” does not constitute development. Accordingly, the internal works proposed, which would enable a first floor to be provided, would not fall within the definition of development by virtue of S.55(2)(a). He noted that they would not affect the existing structure so as to make it sound or otherwise enhance its structural integrity; it was already a sound structure and the internal elements proposed would not be additions to its structural integrity as such. He reasoned that for Class Q to seek to control such internal works, which are permitted elsewhere or do not constitute development in themselves, would be illogical. The internal works were permitted development, he decided.

The following DCP chapter is relevant: 4.3423

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