I recently met a delightful retired couple who after years of watching Grand Designs had finally succumbed to the lure of building a dream home and decided to start searching for a large plot of land in Rutland and rural Leicestershire. My initial council was patience; plots can be found in these areas but they are infrequently found in estate agents’ windows or popular property portals so usually, alternative creative methods need to be engaged. Some of these include scouring the classified adverts in the Self Build magazines, monitoring the planning portals, approaching land owners direct and looking out for poor quality houses on attractive sites that could be replaced with a modern alternative.
Another less well known route to secure a building plot is to convert an agricultural building into a home by taking advantage of the Class Q Agricultural to Dwelling permitted development rights. Introduced in 2013, this removed the need for full planning permission to be granted and subject to some not overly onerous conditions and restrictions, allows buildings that have previously been used for agricultural purposes to be converted into homes. Not surprisingly, this does not provide a free for all to convert every cow shed in the area but it is a useful right to be aware of when searching for a rural plot.
What are the key points to note if considering using the agriculture to dwelling right?
1. The agricultural building must be structurally strong enough to be converted into a residence. Some partial demolition work may be acceptable but the majority of the building should be fit for conversion.
2. Extension work is not covered by this permitted development right
3. The maximum floor space of the resulting property must be no more than 450 sq. metres
4. The installation/replacement of doors, windows, roofs and utilities will be acceptable to the ‘extent reasonably necessary to function as a dwelling house’. As such, any design feature too ambitious may well be rejected.
5. The agricultural building must not be sited in a conservation area or the curtilage of a listed building
6. The local planning department will still consider the impact of the proposed dwelling in terms of highway access, flood risk, noise pollution, contamination and practicality
Anyone, finding an agricultural building which they believe is ripe for conversion is advised to consult a planning expert or submit an enquiry to the local planning office. Most will be happy to provide an initial view before purchase either free of charge or at a modest price.
If you are considering investing in a building plot within the Rutland and Leicestershire area and would like to know more about how Garrington can expertly guide you, please get in touch for a no obligation initial discussion.