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GPDO 2015: Expansion of Agricultural Permitted Development Rights and Extension to Temporary Rules Allowing Conversion From Storage/Distribution Use to Residential


Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990), planning permission is required for the carrying out on land of any development. Development is defined as the “carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under the land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land”.
The Secretary of State may, by development order, grant deemed planning permission for specified development or classes of development. Permitted development is still development for which planning permission is required. It is just that the application process is dispensed with and permission is deemed to have been granted.

GPDO 2015

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (GPDO 2015) is effectively a national grant of planning permission. Schedule 2 to the GPDO 2015 grants planning permission for certain “permitted development”, including:

  • Changes of use (Part 3, Schedule 2, GPDO 2015).
  • Agriculture and Forestry (Part 6, Schedule 2, GPDO 2015).
  • Communications (Part 16, Schedule 2, GPDO 2015).

Amendments to the GPDO 2015

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2018 (GPD Amendment Order 2018) has been made and comes into force on 6 April 2018. It applies to England only.
The GPD Amendment Order 2018:

  • Extends the existing temporary permitted development right to change the use of buildings in storage or distribution use to residential use.
  • Amends the existing right to change use of agricultural buildings to residential use to allow up to a total of five dwellinghouses. In addition, to increase the floor space limits of agricultural buildings permitted to change use to residential use for larger dwellinghouses.
  • Increases the size limits that apply to permitted development on agricultural land.
  • Makes permanent the existing temporary removal of requirements to submit prior approval applications for telecommunications development in protected areas in connection with fixed-line broadband installation.
  • Makes a technical change to introduce a modified procedure in relation to consideration of prior approval applications for permitted development rights.

Temporary change of use of building from a storage/distribution centre to residential use

Class P permits the temporary change of use of a building from a storage or distribution centre to residential use (subject to conditions and limitations).
Article 9 of the GPD Amendment Order 2018 extends the temporary right to change the use for a further period.
Development under class P is permitted provided that the prior approval date falls before 10 June 2019 and the change of use is completed within three years of the prior approval date. Currently the change of use must have begun before 15 April 2018.
Existing article 4 directions will remain in force unless amended by the local planning authority (LPA) or an individual direction includes a specific end date.

Change of use of agricultural buildings to residential use

Class Q permits (subject to conditions and limitations):

  • The change of use of an agricultural building and any land within its curtilage to use as a dwellinghouse (class C3) (class Q(a)).
  • Any building operations reasonably necessary to convert that building to a dwellinghouse (class Q(b)).

Article 10 of the GPD Amendment Order 2018 extends class Q to increase the number of dwellinghouses permitted from a total maximum of three to a total maximum of five (including any previous development under class Q). Smaller and larger dwellinghouses are defined. Smaller dwellinghouse has a floorspace of no more than 100 square metres in use as a dwellinghouse and larger dwellinghouse has a floorspace of more than 100 and no more than 465 square metres of floor space in use as a dwellinghouse.
The amended right (including any previous development under class Q) allows for:

  • up to three larger dwellinghouses with a maximum cumulative total residential floor space of 465 square metres; or
  • Up to five smaller dwellinghouses each with no larger than 100 square metres of residential floor space, or
  • A mix of larger and smaller dwellinghouses within a total of no more than five dwellinghouses, of which no more than three may be larger dwellinghouses with a maximum cumulative total of 465 square metres residential floor space, to be developed on the agricultural unit in one or more agricultural buildings.

Other homes on the agricultural unit which were not developed under class Q do not count towards the total of smaller or larger dwellinghouses.
Anyone who has prior approval (or deemed prior approval) under class Q for up to three dwellinghouses can make a further application under class Q provided the limitations on total numbers of smaller and larger dwellinghouses and total cumulative floor space of larger dwellinghouses are not exceeded.
Applicants may apply only for either the change of use (a), or for the change of use with building operations ((a) together with (b)). The right does not allow for a separate application or development under (b) alone.
Existing Article 4 directions made in respect of class Q will continue to apply to the amended right.
Applications for prior approval under class Q must specify how many larger dwellinghouses and how many smaller dwellinghouses will be developed as a result of this application. Where there has been previous development under class Q, the application must also set out how many larger and how many smaller homes have been developed previously on the agricultural unit.

Agricultural buildings and land: permitted development rights under Part 6

Under Part 6, Schedule 2 to the GPDO 2015, farmers can erect, extend, or alter agricultural buildings or carry out any excavations or engineering operations on their land.
The GPD Amendment Order 2018 amends classes A and B to allow for greater agricultural development.
Class A is amended to increase the existing ground area limit for the erection of new agricultural buildings, works or structures (in certain circumstances as set out in paragraph A.1.(e)) from 465 square metres to 1,000 square metres.
Class B is amended to increase the existing area limit for the extension or alteration of agricultural buildings, or the installation of plant, machinery or a hard surface from 465 to 1,000 square metres, and to allow for an increase of up to 20% of the cubic size of an agricultural building.


 Permitted development rights support key government agendas, such as housing. The government considers that the introduction of further rights will reduce bureaucracy and cost in respect of low impact development and will also incentivise certain forms of development by providing developers with a greater level speed and certainty.


The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2018.

For any further advice contact our specialist Commercial Property Team on 0800 088 6004.