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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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Achieving Sustainable Development

Achieving Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development

As the recent planning reforms have slowly been introduced and their effects are now becoming evident, the key buzzword seems to be the issue of sustainable development, and certainly this is the golden thread running through the policies contained within a National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  Much discussion has revolved around what actually is sustainable development.  The NPPF describes it as three separate dimensions; these being economic, social and environmental.

In relation to the economic role of sustainability, a development must contribute towards building a strong, responsive and competitive economy in order to support growth and innovation.

With regard to the social element of sustainability, a development should support strong, vibrant and healthy communities by providing housing to meet the needs of present and future generations.

With regard to environmental sustainability, any development should look to protect and enhance the natural, built and historic environment.

By looking at all three of these elements together, developments should be located close to local services where they can be supported by the local community, and support local growth where a supply of housing is required.


8,000 Dwellings Earmarked

Stratford District Council originally earmarked in their 2012 Draft Core Strategy for the allocation of 8,000 dwellings throughout the district; however, at the 1st April 2011, 2,400 of the 8,000 were already accounted for and therefore leaving a 5,600 quota to be filled.  560 of these dwellings were to be allocated in Stratford-upon-Avon, 1,680 dwellings were to be located in the Main Rural Centres; 2,240 dwellings were to be located in Local Service Villages; with the remaining 560 dwellings to be allocated within the smaller settlements which are the settlements that are not either Main Rural Centres or Local Service Villages.

WarwickshireLocal Service Villages

Local Service Villages are defined as villages which have key services and have reasonable access to public transport, these include:

Alderminster, Alveston Bearley, Bishops Itchington, Brailes (Upper and Lower), Claverdon, Clifford Chambers, Earlswood, Ettington, Fenny Compton, Gaydon, Great Alne, Halford, Hampton Lucy, Harbury, Ilmington, Lighthorne Heath, Long Compton, Long Itchington, Long Marston, Mappleborough Green, Moreton Morrell, Napton-on-the-Hill, Newbold-on-Stour, Northend, Oxhill, Pillerton Prior, Priors Marston, Quinton (Lower), Salford Priors, Snitterfield, Stockton, Tanworth-in-Arden, Tiddington, Tredington, Tysoe (Upper & Middle), Welford-on-Avon, Wilmcote and Wootton Wawen.

In order to develop in one of the Local Service Villages, sites should adhere to either of the following criteria.

  • It is a site allocated for development in Neighbourhood Plans or the DPD.
  • The re-use and redevelopment of land and properties within existing settlements.
  • Opportunities for regeneration within and adjacent to existing settlements.
  • Local choice schemes which meet housing needs identified by the local community.

Smaller Settlements

As there has been an allocation of 560 dwellings in smaller settlements of the district, you would be forgiven in thinking that infill development within a smaller settlement would be acceptable to help meet the 560 housing quota.  In reality, we have learnt from the District Council through a number of pre-application enquiries that when an infill site is put forward as a potential site for housing within a smaller settlement, the District Council often look unfavourably upon the proposals due to them deeming smaller settlements to be unsustainable in terms of the NPPF as they are not located near local services, transport links or shops.  Such proposals therefore need to be brought about through ‘local choice’ schemes where a housing need is identified by the local community.

Since the Stratford-on-Avon District Council published their Draft Core Strategy 2012, they have revised their housing quota to 9,500, yet this is still to be officially confirmed.  The division of this quota across the settlement hierarchy is also unclear and should hopefully be unveiled shortly.

It should be noted that many Parish Councils are in the throes of preparing their Neighbourhood Development Plan, which provides power to Parish Councils to set their own policies in relation to the type of development and where development is to be located within their settlements.  Once a Neighbourhood Development Plan has been adopted by the District Council, the policies within it will take precedence over the presumption of sustainable development; thereby bringing planning powers back to local areas.