In the summer of 2015 I reported on a major success using the planning policies that apply to agricultural buildings. Subject to a number of conditions and restrictions, agricultural buildings may be converted to dwelling houses using Permitted Development Rights.
We were working in Cobham, Mole Valley, Surrey and had completed the designs to convert an existing barn to three houses under agricultural permitted development rights and had Permitted Development Rights consented..
The resulting homes together comprised the maximum floor space of 450 m2 that may be converted within a single agricultural unit as well as the maximum total number of new homes, three, which may be developed. Working within these constraints the residential units that we had designed were generous three bedroom houses each approximately 150 sq. m. in size
Although the permitted development right assumed that the existing barn to be converted was capable of functioning as a dwelling some building works were allowed and it was recognised that they would affect the external appearance of the building. Under a traditional planning process these external changes would require planning permission but are permitted as part of the permitted development application.
The permitted works covered the installation of windows, doors, roofs, exterior walls, water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services as required for the building to function as a dwelling. Partial demolition was also allowed to carry out these building operations but not new structural elements for the building so the barn had to be able to take the additional load of the new windows, walls and roof.
New House permitted in Fetcham
Earlier this year we were commissioned to design another house and negotiate another Agricultural Permitted Development Consent, this time in Fetcham. The Local Planning Authority were again Mole Valley and it quickly became apparent that in the intervening two years they had tightened up the consent process to the extent that more detailed supporting statements and evidence were required to substantiate the previous longer term and the current use of the land concerned and to provide expert structural advice that the building could be converted without structural reinforcement. Nevertheless the architects at 4D Studio have now secured the Permitted Development Rights for another house to be created by converting an agricultural building on a stunning greenbelt site in an area of outstanding natural beauty in Surrey.
News of our expertise in this area has since led to current discussions concerning two more agricultural building that should prove viable for permitted development consents of this type.
To utilise permitted development rights there is a process to go through that involves the Local Authority and there are some limitations to the change to residential use that relate to the history of the building and its uses.
You will need to apply to the Local Planning Authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the local planning authority is necessary for the change of use in respect of transport, highways and noise impacts of the development, flooding and contamination risks on the site, and whether the location or siting of the building makes it impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to dwelling house. You will also need to check whether the prior approval of the authority will be required for the design or external appearance of the building.
If you are considering an agricultural permitted development project and would like to talk to a residential architect who is experienced and familiar with what is required please do not hesitate to contact us at 4D Studio. We would be pleased to hear from you.
John Muir / 4D Studio architects and interior designers