Barn conversion update

A barn conversion near Leeds has been allowed under Class Q, Part 3, Schedule 2 to the GPDO after a council relied on out-of-date text from Planning Practice Guidance (DCS Number 400-021-808).

The inspector recorded that the officer report referenced text from PPG: “It is not the intention of the permitted development right to include the construction of new structural elements for the building. Therefore, it is only where the existing building is structurally strong enough to take the loading which comes with the external works to provide for residential use that the building would be considered to have the permitted development rights.” He pointed out, however, that this text is out of date, not being found in the current Class Q guidance at Paragraph 105 of PPG.

The inspector acknowledged that although PPG has been updated in relation to Class Q of the GPDO since Hibbitt & another v SSCLG & Rushcliffe Borough Council [2016] it still advises that the permitted development right under Class Q assumes that the agricultural building is capable of functioning as a dwelling. It also states that it is not the intention of the permitted development right to allow rebuilding work which would go beyond what is reasonably necessary for the conversion of the building to residential use. He reasoned that this is a matter of fact and degree and requires an element of judgement.

The council maintained that the appeal building could not currently be occupied as a dwelling and the extent of works required to enable it to be so, would be beyond what would be reasonably necessary for a conversion. The council also stated that the upper floor parts of the new two-storey internal walls would amount to a considerable degree of fundamental new building works on all four elevations, and that internal structural works might be needed to support an upper floor mezzanine level.

The inspector noted, however, that PPG states that internal works are not generally development and that the installation of exterior walls would be a type of building operation that may be reasonably necessary for a conversion. PPG also advises that new internal structural works, including to allow for the insertion of a mezzanine or upper floors may be appropriate. From the information before him the inspector concluded that the proposed works would accord with the guidance contained in PPG with regard to Class Q of the GPDO. He determined that the proposed works to convert the building to function as a dwellinghouse would be reasonably necessary. Consequently, the proposal would be permitted development under Schedule 2, Part 3, Class Q of the GPDO.

Section 10.134 of DCP Online concerns the condition of existing buildings in relation to barn conversions.