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Delivering Class Q Permitted Development

Class Q Permitted Development has changed the way we look at certain buildings and the potential of redundant or disused agricultural buildings, but what are the common pitfalls and how might you maximise this opportunity? 

What is Class Q?

Class Q is a form of permitted development which was introduced in 2014 and allows the change of use of certain buildings from agriculture to residential use. Class Q has been a hot topic over recent years and has caused a great deal of discussion due to a number of disputes between planning officers and applicants regarding the interpretation of the criteria. Nationally there continues to be a high refusal rate, but Bidwells has seen considerably higher success with the projects we have been involved with.

Common Pitfalls

• Structure: Is your building incapable of conversion due to being structurally unsound, or does it need works above and beyond what is acceptable under the criteria of Class Q? Addressing these issues prior to submitting a prior notification can significantly increase your chances of success.

• Impractical or Undesirable: Is your building located near to a slurry lagoon, intensive livestock unit or machinery shed?

• Curtilage: Does the area you wish to incorporate as a garden extend beyond the area allowed under Class Q? Why not take a two-tiered approach?

• Agricultural use: Have you considered how the building sits within your holding, was it solely used for an agricultural use and is it part of an established agricultural unit? Storing domestic items could be of detriment to your application.


Class Q permitted development certainly presents a great opportunity for the conversion of certain agricultural buildings. However, achieving approval is proving more difficult than initially publicised, meaning that prior notifications must be robust and well thought through in order to avoid refusal. Each Local Authority area must be considered separately due to the variation of interpretation. Development is certainly achievable, but the task of achieving approval is perhaps greater than you may consider. Our expert team can help you through the process and significantly enhance your chances of success.

95% success rate of Class Q applications approved from Bidwells. On average 60% of Class Q applications have been refused nationally. We achieve our success by being well informed and experts in our field.

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