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Class MB Permitted Development Rights – Is it really the best thing for you?


One year has passed since permitted development rights were extended to allow the change of the use of a building and any land within it from agricultural use to use as a residential dwelling. 

Whilst in theory it was supposed to encourage the utilisation of unused agricultural buildings in rural areas, there remain many restrictions in place which have hindered the full exploitation of this permitted right.

So what are some of the restrictions?

  • The site must have been used for agriculture on 20 March 2013, or the date it was last in use if this was prior to 20 March 2013. The permitted development right cannot be used for 10 years on any land brought into use for agricultural purposes after that date.
  • The converted floor space cannot exceed 450 sqm in total and no more than three dwelling houses can be created. This is a cumulative restriction so you need to take into account the existing converted building in place before calculating developable floor space.
  • Areas such as conservation areas, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are excluded from Class MB developments.
    Building operations are only permitted under Class MB if the conversion is deemed to be reasonably necessary in order to allow the property to be occupied as a dwelling house and will need to be approved by the LPA.
  • It does not allow development that would result in external dimensions beyond that of the existing building, and will be limited to the installation or replacement of windows, doors, roofs, exterior walls and work needed to provide essential services including drainage, electricity and gas.
  • Any dwelling created under this right does not benefit from residential permitted development rights for 10 years following the agricultural conversion and any alterations in the meantime, such as small extensions or garages would require planning permission.

What does this mean?

Whilst at first blush it may seem like a positive change in legislation to allow the development of agricultural buildings, developers should consider the consequences thoroughly and err on the side of caution when exercising their rights to avoid long term problems for the business.

If you would like any further information on legal support for property development please contact Peter Rolph on 01202 204 535 or [email protected].

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