R is for Rural - a guide to Class R permitted development

Following our post last week explaining Class Q permitted development rights, it's over to Rural Surveyor Jack Denning-James to explain Class R, and where it can be used for changing the use of an existing building

R is for Rural - a guide to Class R permitted development

Background to Class R

Class R was introduced in 2015 by the General Permitted Development Order and allows the conversion of agricultural buildings to a flexible commercial use within certain limits.  Flexible commercial uses include storage, distribution, light industrial and range of specific business uses. However, an important distinction between Class R and Class Q is that Class R only allows a change of use and no operational development.

 Class R – Qualifying Criteria

The principal qualifying criteria is that the building was used for agriculture as part of an established agricultural unit on the relevant date, the 3rd July 2012. For any buildings built after this date a period of 10 years must have passed. Class R is not allowed near military zones, dangerous sites, listed buildings or scheduled monuments.  This means Class R can be used in AONB’s, National parks, Conservation areas and Greenbelt.

Class R – Floor Area

Class R allows a change of use of up to 500 squares metres. This can be spread across multiple buildings and does not need to be used all in one application. An area equal in size to the building can be classified as curtilage. This means adjoining hard surface area can be included within an application but does not count towards the 500sqm total.

Planning Conditions

After a successful application under Class R sites will be treated as having a sui generis use. This means subsequent changes of use within a flexible commercial use do not require permission. A useful bonus if subsequent tenants require the building for slightly different purposes.

Decision Timeline

Class R benefits from a 56-day decision window which means councils must respond within the time or prior approval is not required. The council can only consider a limited number of factors including transport, highways, noise, contamination and flooding which means a wide range of buildings are included within the criteria. Unlike Class Q buildings need not demonstrate they are suitable for conversion.

What Next?

Following a successful Class R application further planning maybe require for operational development to make the building suitable for its new use or even to replace the building.

How can we help?

Following the most appropriate planning route is key to submitting a successful  application, and Symonds & Sampson’s Rural Agents have a comprehensive understanding of what might otherwise seem a daunting process.  Similarly, if you have already successfully gained consent under Class R, our agents can help finding a tenant for, or letting your building.

Please either contact your nearest office or call Jack Denning-James or Chris Powell at the Devizes office on 01380 710535.

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