Barn conversions just got easier as planning rules change

Barn conversions

Recent changes to planning rules will make it easier for farmers to get planning permission for barn conversions.

The new regulations allow all agricultural buildings to be converted to residential use without the need for formal planning permission.

Planning Minister Nick Boles said this would make “better use of redundant or under-used agricultural buildings” without building on the countryside.

What will the new regulations allow?

A new class of permitted development has been created, according to the NFU, which will allow change of use from agriculture to residential use. The new Class MB covers:

  • up to 450 sq m (4,850 sq ft) of buildings per farm to be turned into a maximum of three houses
  • up to 500 sq m of agricultural buildings on each farm to be changed into schools and nurseries

This is a great opportunity for derelict barns to be brought back into regular use, without the complication of having to seek planning permission first.

It’s important to note that the rules have become more flexible to encourage conversions or renovations of existing farmland buildings; any restrictions on demolishing barns, sheds and other buildings remain.

Barn conversions: what will you use yours for?

Converting a barn can make for an exciting renovation project, and one which can generate a steady stream of income too.

Guesthouse: Include bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and stylish interior design and you’ll be able to welcome paying guests to your farm who will relish in the chance to escape from the city to the country.

Studio: You may well be able to rent out the space to artists and other creative people who are looking for a calm environment with great light, and space to think away from the hustle and bustle of an urban environment.

Cafe and shop: You can sell not only your own produce, but that of local independent shops and craftspeople in the area.

Living space: Many modern parents are finding that their children fly the nest – only to come back again! The problem is, where to put them? Converting the barn could be the perfect option – just make sure they have their own washing machine (and know how to use it).

Need inspiration?

Take a look at the Telegraph’s 20 best barn conversions or these beautiful barn conversions from Yahoo! Finance.

And don’t forget to get the right insurance in place. Take a look at our Knowledge Base for tips on insuring existing structures. In particular you’ll need to be aware of:

Building condition: The condition of your existing structure will have a bearing on how a claim under this type of insurance is settled. What factors do you have to consider if your building is in poor condition?

Construction type: Insurance companies arrive at the premium they want to charge for your insurance by looking at a number of factors. The premium you pay is affected by your building’s listed status and the materials of which it is made.

Picture credit: Rightmove

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