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Hovel to House

Hovel to House

Following the new release of the additional General Permitted Development Order which came into force on the 6th April 2014, it is now possible to convert an agricultural building to a dwelling and also a shop to a dwelling. This is a big step forward from having to test the market for 6 months to see if there is any other need for the barn other than dwelling prior to putting in a full application to the District Council who would then take a larger criteria to make a decision on giving a consent for a conversion to a dwelling. With the new Development Order in place, you are now required to fill in a General Permitted Development Order and to provide a location plan so the District Council can make their decision.

 Converted property


There are of course restrictions that would prevent a notification being approved. These restrictions include that the building must have been in agricultural use or part of an established agricultural unit prior to the 20th March 2013, if the development would result in an external dimension of the building extending beyond the original dimensions of the building. If the site is an Article 1(5) land, which includes designated areas such as an area of outstanding natural beauty, conservation area, Listed or within the grounds of a Listed Building, on a site of special scientific interest, a safety hazard area, a military explosive storage area or site that contains a scheduled monument.

How big and how many barns can I convert?

The restrictions on numbers and sizes have also been put in place. You may only convert a barn that would result in no more than 450 sq m of floor space within the agricultural unit as a whole. The maximum number on one unit would be three dwellings, the accumulative floor area of these three dwellings, again must not exceed 450 sq m of floor area.

What rights might I lose?

Once a Consent has been granted for a conversion of an agricultural building to a dwelling under the new GPDO, you will not be able to apply for new agricultural buildings via the Agricultural Notification for a period of 10 years. Any application that is submitted within that 10 year period must be for a Full Planning Application.

What might I be expected to provide with my General Permitted Development Order

The District Council will take into consideration five specific areas whilst making their decision and may ask for additional information on these whilst the application is being processed. These being:

  • Transport and highway impact of the development.
  • Noise impact of the development.
  • Contamination risk on site.
  • Flood risk on site.
  • Whether the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to a use falling within the Class C3 Dwelling House of the Schedule to the Use Class Order.

Will the District Council require any further information once the General Permitted Development Order has been approved?

The District Council will condition any approval with specific details that would be required prior to work commencing on site and these will require discharge and will be known as Pre-commencement Conditions. These conditions could require further highways details, floor plans and elevations of the dwellings, Ecology Surveys, Tree Surveys to name but a few.

However, once a Permitted Development Order has been granted, these will only be hurdles that will require jumping prior to commencing on site, rather than hurdles that require jumping prior to the District Council making a decision.


From our understanding and the understanding of other governing bodies, it would appear that the Permitted Development Order is not restricted to traditional agricultural buildings but would include any agricultural building. Therefore, your Dutch barns and grain stores would be included in the permitted development.

For further enquiries or indeed assessments, please contact Sheldon Bosley for sound reliable guidance on your potential development.

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Environmental Stewardship



 Natural England have recently released updates on some of the potential changes to Environmental Stewardship (ES) under the CAP reform proposals, which provide a flavour of the intended changes.  However please note these are all draft proposals and subject to final agreement and implementation:

  • The final start date for ELS/HLS Agreements under existing ES schemes is the 1st December 2013.  ELS Applications will need to be with Natural England by 1st September 2013 (and HLS agreements earlier) to achieve this final start date.
  • New Environmental Land Management Schemes (NELMS) under the next regime of the CAP Reform will not commence until 1st January 2016; and all Agreement start dates will be the 1st January each year – there will be no monthly start dates.
  • Inevitably, there is a gap between December 2013 and 2016, known as the ‘transitional period’.  Currently, the following proposals are in place:
  • 2014, for Agreement Holders who have ELS Agreements which expire in 2014 (approximately 2,000) – to either extend their existing schemes in 2014, or begin a new Agreement using the current ES scheme rules – both of these options will be within the new budget, therefore the more money which is spent on transitional arrangements means there will be less available for NELMS in the future;
  • 2015, Currently 2015 is not defined as a transition year, therefore there are currently no proposals in place for the 12,000 ELS Agreements which are likely to expire.
  • The proposals for the NELMS in 2016 and beyond:-
  • ‘Lower tier’ – a national scheme open to all (similar to ELS) but with limited management options and capital items, with more emphasis on providing advice to landowners (similar to Catchment Sensitive Farming);
  • ‘Middle tier’ – targeting geographical/landscape priorities – agreements by invite only with simple management options and limited capital items;
  • ‘Upper tier’ – targeting designation areas to provide schemes for complex or demanding sites such as SSSIs – agreements by invite only with capital items available for special projects.
  • Depending on the outcome of the “greening” proposals under the CAP reform, and the availability of budget for Environmental Stewardship, it may be possible that only the middle and upper tier agreements are implemented, which will be targeted to deliver more significant benefits.
  • The Defra policies and objectives for formulating the NELMS and management options are based on EU directives such as water, biodiversity, landscape, climate control.
  • It is anticipated that there will be a single IT system for all CAP schemes, including the Single Payment Scheme (or equivalent) and NELMS, which shall include preparing and submitting applications, and submitting claim forms.

If you would like further advice on changes to Environmental Stewardship, or require assistance completing your ELS renewal in 2013 please contact Laura Gaydon of Sheldon Bosley on 01608 661666 or