Barn conversions under Class Q ‘fallback’ position secure new build homes

Two recent DHA projects have shown the opportunities presented by Class Q consents and the ‘fallback’ position.

Class Q allows for the change of use and conversion of agricultural buildings to residential homes as permitted development, subject to the prior approval of the Local Planning Authority on specific items such as transport, contamination, noise and risk of flooding.

The ‘fallback’ position is a long-established principle in planning. However, recent case law has demonstrated that Class Q consents also present a legitimate ‘fallback’ position for clients.

Working for a longstanding client near Sevenoaks, DHA successfully secured permission for the conversion of two barns to two new homes in the Green Belt via a full planning application and the Class Q regulations.

Once the consents had been secured, an application was made to demolish the buildings and replace them with the new homes. The design of the new homes was of a higher level, more in keeping with the recently completed replacement farmhouse.

As the site is within the Green Belt, part of the case involved demonstrating that very special circumstances existed to justify the development. The ‘fallback’ in respect of the demolition of the barns which had consent for conversion to dwellings was sufficient, along with the improved design and careful considerations on impact of openness, to grant consent for two new build dwellings.

DHA’s urban design team developed the design for the new dwellings, Corylus provided environmental support and Lustre considered the issue of contamination on the site from its previous use as a farm.

Over in Ashford, the DHA team secured a Class Q permission for a client enabling the change of use and conversion of agricultural buildings into five new homes. Once secured, an application was made on the principle of the fallback position to demolish the consented barns, along with others, to create four more attractive homes.

The planning successes follow changes to the Class Q legislation last year which now allows the number of homes to increase from three to five, and follows a planning precedent set in relation to ‘fallback’ development provided by case law from a case in nearby Tonbridge & Malling.

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