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Relaxed Planning Policies for Barn Conversions in East Devon

Relaxed Planning Policies for Barn Conversions in East Devon

A recent appeal decision has resulted in East Devon District Council (EDDC) having to relax their position on the conversion of agricultural buildings to residential dwellings.

In spite of the National Planning Policy Framework supporting residential conversions that would re-use redundant or disused rural buildings and enhance their immediate setting, for many years, EDDC have argued that their Local Plan Policy adds a further requirement that rural conversions shall not substantively add to the need to travel by car. That requirement has previously ruled out conversion of the vast majority of barns under a full planning application.

In a recent appeal decision, a Planning Inspector has now agreed that East Devon’s approach is both out-of-date and out-of-step with National Policy.

Thus, moving forward, many more barns within East Devon will be suitable for conversion under a full planning application. This is particularly relevant for those buildings where Class Q permitted development rights for agricultural barn conversions do not apply. Good examples of this are barns within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB’s) and rural buildings that are not in agricultural use, such as equine buildings.

It should be noted that the building in question will need to be structurally sound and capable of conversion without the need for substantial extension, alteration or reconstruction.

Following on from our September 2022 article, it also remains the case that EDDC cannot demonstrate the required full five years of housing land supply, a factor further weighing in favour of both barn conversions and alternative sites for housing in areas that the Council would not usually support.

If you have barns that may be suitable for conversion within the East Devon area or land adjoining existing settlements which you feel may be appropriate for residential development and would like professional advice on whether this may be suitable, please contact Steve Boundy of Stags Planning and Development department via or 01392 439046.