The government has announced major reforms to the planning system. The changes include an easing of the restrictions on the conversion of disused farm buildings into residential properties. Importantly, this encompasses those in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Our friends at the CLA have been lobbying hard for such reforms as part of their Rural Powerhouse campaign. They – and we – therefore welcome the government’s announcement.

CLA President, Mark Tufnell, said: “Rural communities everywhere see talented people forced to leave because of the lack of housing. This brain drain holds back the rural economy, depriving our small villages of workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers.

“Making it easier to convert thousands of redundant farm buildings into homes on farmland and in designated landscape… will create new jobs, encourage more people to live and work in rural areas and allow rural businesses to grow for the benefit of communities across the country.”

Under current legislation, if you own agricultural buildings and convert them into one or more homes, Class Q rights may make this possible without the need for full planning consent.

Class Q rights do come with restrictions, however. For example, you cannot use them to convert listed buildings or buildings on article 2(3) land (including National Parks or AONB).

At least some of these restrictions look set to be eased when the new planning reforms go through. But professional guidance will still be necessary to navigate the planning process in the most efficient way. (Such assistance is especially important given the looming spectre of a rise in planning fees).

AssetSphere have achieved a success rate of over 90% with Class Q applications for the conversion of qualifying redundant farm buildings to residential. This includes applications for the conversion of buildings within catchments affected by the new nutrient neutrality requirements.

Do you have a building that might be suitable for conversion? Our friendly, experienced team can guide you through the process and key requirements. Contact Richard Edge or Alex Orttewell on 01935 852170, or email for more details.