Skip to content

Planning news - 9 May 2024

Planning Portal Weekly News header

Agricultural Permitted Development Rights change

The government has announced updates to Class Q and Class R of Part 3 of the legislation. These allow agricultural buildings to change use to dwellings or flexible commercial uses respectively. They are set to take effect from 21 May 2024.  

The changes aim to streamline the conversion of agricultural buildings and barns for residential and commercial purposes, providing new opportunities for developers while ensuring responsible land use. Another notable change to these regulations is that the rights allow for a single storey extension, where under previous regulations only the existing structure was eligible for conversion. 

Under the renewed Class Q regulations, the number of new dwellings permitted has increased from five to ten. Additionally, the maximum conversion space has risen to 1,000 m², albeit with a limit of 150 m² per dwelling.  

Eligibility criteria for Class Q has also been expanded, meaning barns that are no longer utilised for agricultural purposes are now included. 

Class R has been updated to further the scope of permitted conversions. Where previously Class R was limited to specific commercial uses, it will now also allow for conversions to developments designated as General Industrial or Outdoor Sport and Recreation.  

The size limit for this Class has also been raised to 1,000 m², enabling larger agricultural units to accommodate a broader range of developments, including dwellings and hotels. 

Additionally, the rights in Class A and B of Part 6, which provide permitted development rights for agricultural use are also being updated. These will allow for larger developments by increasing the ground area allowed to be covered and, for Class B, raising the maximum percentage increase in cubic content. 

The changes will also stop such developments from being permitted on scheduled monuments, with planning permission required in that circumstance. 

Finally, transitional arrangements will allow any developments that, following the changes are no longer eligible for the permitted development rights, to continue to benefit from the ‘as is’ unamended legislation for a further 12 months. 

View full details of the amending legislation1

Related updates to Planning Portal 

We are in the process of researching and developing the required updates to our online application system and blank form templates to comply with these changes. 

Since Government has only provided a period of three weeks between the legislation being published and taking effect, we will endeavour to get the changes implemented as soon as possible, but this may not be in time for them coming into force on the 21 May 2024. 

More detailed information on the changes will follow in due course. 

New Compulsory Purchase Order rules come into force

At the end of April, updated Compulsory Purchase Order measures allowing councils to acquire land to build public infrastructure without paying ‘hope value’, came into force. 

The updates were originally laid out in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023.  

According to The Planner2, councils, as well as bodies such as Homes England, will be able to ‘apply to the secretary of state’ to get the ‘hope value’ removed. 

Levelling-Up Minister Jacob Young said that these updates will prompt necessary investment in regeneration nationally, The Planner reported. 

The measures so far have received a mix response from industry spokespeople.  


Planning and the local elections

The results of last weeks’ local elections have proved interesting for planning, with several constituencies changing hands, and Labour, who have outlined ambitious housing development aims ahead of a general election3, making significant gains. 

Sadiq Khan secured a third term as London mayor, whilst Andy Burnham retained his position as Mayor of Greater Manchester. Labour’s Claire Ward also emerged as East Midland’s first ever mayor. 

Thurrock council was also taken under Labour control, following criticisms of planning department.  

In an article published on 3 May, Planning Resource commented:4 

‘Thurrock has generally been “quite pro-development” in recent years, particularly during Tory leader Mark Coxshall’s spell holding the regeneration portfolio when the Conservatives were in control, says Duncan Flynn, senior director of the planning team for the Home Counties at public affairs consultancy Cratus Group. The Conservatives’ development focus in Thurrock has been town centre regeneration and protecting some of its greenfield areas, he says. 

But Labour control would be unlikely to be a “bad thing for development”, according to Flynn, who adds: “They may be more willing to look at some of the more outlying rural areas for development to try and reduce the pressure on the town centres, which are their political heartland.” 

Housing Consultant Richard Parker was also elected as Mayor of the West Midlands, unseating conservative Andy Street. Parker is a former PwC member. 

Housebuilding rates set to fall, as research reveals high number of co-location homes approved in London over last five years 

Planning Consultancy Turley have released their annual co-location scheme report, which reveals that such schemes have allowed for the granting of over 22,000 homes in London over the past five years. 

Co-location refers to multi-use developments which accommodate both industrial/logistics and residential spaces.   

As reported by The Planner on 2 May, the director of planning at Turley said: 

‘Now in its third year, this report demonstrates that the co-location model is not only here to stay in the capital, but has the potential to deliver a significant uplift in new homes and employment and logistics space, particularly in co-location hotspots such as Ealing, Brent and Southwark.’ 

You can read the full report on Turley’s website.5 

In other news, real estate company Savills have predicted that housebuilding rates will fall to their ‘lowest in over a decade’ in 2024/5.  

In a report published on 7 May, they attributed the decline to a ‘lower demand from new home buyers and reduced capacity to deliver affordable housing’. 

They expect supply to fall significantly below the ‘300,000 homes a year’ target laid out for the mid 2020s in the 2019 Conservative manifesto, claiming that there are ‘currently no policy proposals which look set to turn the tide’. 

You can read the full report on Saville’s website here.6 

New regulations for single-sex toilets announced

The government has announced changes to building regulations which mean that new, non-domestic buildings such as restaurants, shopping centres and offices must offer single-sex toilet facilities. 

Although establishing single-sex toilets as the new default, the policy also encourages the inclusion of self-contained, universal toilets – meaning fully enclosed rooms including wash basins and hand dryers - where space allows. 

The regulations go on to state that self-contained universal toilets may be utilised instead of single-sex toilets ‘only where lack of space reasonably precludes provision of single-sex toilet accommodation’. 

According to a press release7 published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 6 May, ‘The new requirements will mean everyone can access appropriate facilities either through a separate single-sex space or a self-contained, universal toilet.’ 

The changes come following consultation responses showing majority support for single-sex facilities.  

You can find out more by visiting the Government website.8 


Our planning news is published in association with ThePlanner, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

RTPI logo The Planner logo

    Planning news - 9 May 2024

      The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.

      The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.