Class Q Barn Conversion – A Guide To Class Q Permissions

Posted on: 01 July 2023

Let's Explore Class Q Barn Conversions In Yorkshire

In 2014, the introduction of Class Q permissions changed the barn conversion landscape. In England, it is now possible to convert a barn into a residential property without applying for planning permission. This has made the process of planning a barn conversion in Yorkshire much more straightforward than it was just a few years ago.

Class Q was created as a way to address the demand for housing in rural areas. This type of planning permission allows agricultural or farm buildings to be converted into residential properties, provided they meet specific requirements. Under Class Q, planning permission is not required for converting a building or land within its boundaries, nor for any necessary building operations to transform it into a Class C3 dwelling or home.

Learn more about Class Q through the exploration of our team of award-winning architects. Read on for details.

What is a Class Q conversion?

With a Class Q conversion, one can effortlessly transform agricultural structures into beautiful Class C3 residential buildings without the hassle of acquiring planning permission. This fantastic permitted planning opportunity allows the farm buildings to be converted into stunning barn conversions and country residences, like this remarkable barn conversion in North Yorkshire, where our architects transformed a rustic wooden barn into a stunning four-bedroom home.

Read More About This Barn Conversion

Class Q Development - Most Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

  • How do you qualify for a Class Q barn conversion or development?

    To qualify for Class Q permitted developments, it is necessary for the building to have been utilised for agricultural purposes on or before March 20th, 2013. However, certain exceptions should be taken into consideration. It is important to note that Class Q planning permission cannot be granted for buildings in natural beauty, National Parks, conservation areas, or if the building has been designated as listed. Therefore, before proceeding with any plans for development, it is advisable to carefully assess whether the property meets all the necessary requirements for Class Q permitted developments.

  • Can you extend a Class Q barn conversion?

    If you’re considering converting an existing building into individual dwellings, knowing the limitations of Class Q regulations is essential. The total floor space of the building cannot exceed 450sqm, and you can only create up to three individual dwellings. Remember that you can not extend the building itself, and the garden cannot be larger than its original size. Extension beyond the existing footprint will require additional planning permission, which can be challenging, particularly in rural areas.

    However, it is possible to transform a building into a home by making adjustments such as replacing windows, doors, roofing, drainage, and other services. Additionally, limited demolition can be carried out under this clause.

  • What are the Class Q regulations for foundation and flooring?

    During the conversion process, it is crucial to assess the structural integrity of the building to ensure it can support the changes without requiring extensive modifications. It is important to note that Class Q regulations do not permit the replacement of foundations or load-bearing flooring, and adding an extra floor to a barn can pose challenges. If these changes are necessary, it may be necessary to obtain full planning permission rather than relying on Class Q.ther than relying on Class Q.

  • What are the benefits of a Class Q conversion?

    One benefit of a Class Q conversion is the lower upfront cost. There are varying levels of detail and increased costs to obtain planning permission for property development. Class Q planning permission is more cost-effective than full planning permission and doesn’t demand as much technical specificity. Another benefit is that this type of permission allows for building homes in rural areas without an exception policy. Overall, it can be a practical and advantageous choice for those planning a property development project.

  • Is Class Q faster than full planning permission?

    A Class Q application is no faster than full planning permission, but it is less expensive. The primary purpose of this is to verify if your building was used for agricultural purposes during a specific time period. A decision on Class Q applications is typically made within 56 days, which is the same amount of time it takes to receive planning permission.

  • How to apply for a Class Q conversion?

    If your barn meets the criteria, you must submit a prior approval application to your local planning authority before proceeding with your conversion. There are two Class Q application options: The first option pertains to changing the use of the building from agricultural use to residential use as a dwellinghouse. The second option includes the development as well as any building operations necessary to convert the building into a Class C3 dwellinghouse.

    The option we see most frequently is the second option – unless you’re planning to only convert the interior of the barn without any external renovations.

  • How many properties can I convert under Class Q?

    With Class Q, you can acquire up to five new properties. You can choose from “Smaller DwellingHouses”, “Larger Dwellinghouses”, or both. It’s worth noting that you can develop mezzanine levels on the floor space you convert, not just on the ground floor. Smaller dwellinghouses are limited to 100 m², while Larger ones range from 100 m² to 465 m².

    You have a few options when it comes to property conversion. You can have up to 3 larger properties if the total area converted doesn’t exceed 465 m². Alternatively, you can have up to 5 smaller properties, each with a maximum size of 100 m². Another option is to combine two former agricultural buildings, as long as the total number of units doesn’t exceed 5. Lastly, you could have five units with a size of 100 m² each, or you could convert a total of 500 m².

    The maximum possible combination is 865 m² – one unit of 465 m² and four of 100 m².


  • What planning do I need to convert a farm building into a commercial building or shop?

    If you are looking to convert your barn into an office, shop or even hotel, then look at Class R. It may be covered by both Class Q and Class R if you have more space than is allowed under Q. An important distinction between Class R and Class Q is that Class R only allows a change of use, not operational development.

    Class R covers development consisting of a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from use as an agricultural building to a flexible use falling within Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services), Class A3 (restaurants and cafés), Class B1 (business), Class B8 (storage or distribution), Class C1 (hotels) or Class D2 (assembly and leisure) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order.


The Future Of Class Q Barn Conversions

The regulations for obtaining planning permission, particularly for rural projects, are regularly reviewed and updated. In the future, the limitations on Class Q barn conversion development may be loosened to enable larger properties. In addition, due to growing demands from the government and citizens to improve housing availability throughout the nation, our analysts predict a significant shift in greenbelt planning policies that could permit development on greenbelt territory in the near future.

If you have a barn conversion project in mind for the York, Harrogate, or Leeds areas, our team of specialist architects in Yorkshire is here to help. We’ll expertly guide you through every step of the planning process and help you achieve your project goals. Contact us today to start your journey.

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