Rural communities to be given more options to convert farm buildings into family homes

Rural communities are to be given more options to convert agricultural buildings into family homes to better meet local housing needs through planning rule changes, according to Housing Minister Dominic Raab.

Changes to permitted development rights will mean up to five new homes can be created from existing agricultural buildings on a farm rather than the maximum of three currently permitted. Currently several hundred new homes each year are created through conversions of agricultural buildings, and the Government says that these changes are expected to boost these numbers further.

Housing Minister Dominic Raab said:
"We need to be more creative if we are to meet the housing needs of rural communities. That’s why I’m changing planning rules so rural communities have more flexibility on how best to use existing buildings to deliver more much needed homes for families. The changes should help communities make better use of existing buildings to help meet local housing needs more efficiently, while at the same time ensuring they remain in keeping with the character of the area and safeguard people’s privacy." 
Permitted development rights allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application. The rights are subject to conditions and limitations to control impact and to protect local amenity. The amended development right for the change of use of agricultural buildings to provide up to five new homes will allow for:
  • up to three larger homes within a maximum of 465 square metres or
  • up to five smaller homes each no larger than 100 square metres or
  • a mix of both
Applicants will have a further year in which to benefit from the temporary permitted development right for the change of use of buildings used for storage and distribution to residential use. The right will be extended by a year until 10 June 2019.