Thoughts from Iain Skinner BSc(Hons) MRICS, principal of Skinner Holden Property Advisors.

The General Permitted Development Order lists all of the changes of use and construction that can be undertaken without planning permission.  Some require a simplified submission and others do not require any submission at all.

Following a successful trial period, in 2015 the government introduced a number of classes of permitted development in order to help ease the housing shortage in England.  One of these classes was Class Q, the conversion of agricultural buildings to dwellinghouses, or in plain English barns to homes.

If a building is eligible for Class Q then all that was needed was a notification to the Local Planning Authority.  However, there were a number of conditions that the building and design had to fulfil before it was eligible for conversion under Class Q.  Many local planning authorities viewed this as a back-door route to unnecessary rural development, rather than an opportunity to create new and urgently required rural housing.  This defensive stance culminated in a legal case which clarified the position, to some degree, although tightened the criteria.