The Extent of Permitted Development Rights – Class Q and Class A

February 9, 2017

By Peter Dixon

Class Q

Mr Justice Green has upheld an Inspector’s decision refusing prior approval for the conversion of an agricultural building to residential use on the grounds that the associated building works were so extensive as to amount to rebuilding rather than conversion and so were not authorised by Class Q.

The building in question was of steel frame construction and largely open on three sides: at the time of the planning appeal it was in use as a cattle shed.  There was no dispute between the parties that is was an agricultural building or that the frame would be sufficient to bear the load of the proposed residential development or that the proposed works were reasonably necessary to permit residential use.  Whilst the floor slab, roof and supporting columns were proposed to be retained all of the rest of the building would be new.

The Claimant argued that there were only two conditions precedent to the general consent in Class Q – the building in question must be an agricultural building and the existing structure must be sufficient to bear the load of the proposed development.  Whilst describing the argument as persuasive Green J nevertheless ultimately agreed with the Secretary of State (and the Inspector) that the Class Q only authorises ‘conversion’ and that the works proposed in this case were so extensive as to amount to rebuilding and were therefore not permitted development.

Hibbert v (1) SSCLG (2) Rushcliffe Borough Council [2016] EWHC 2853 (Admin)

Class A

The Court has quashed a Council’s decision to grant a Certificate of Lawfulness in respect of a householder’s proposal to construct a single-storey basement occupying the full footprint of an existing house.

The Council Committee had been advised that the engineering works associated with forming the basement were “entirely part” of the overall development that “by necessity” would involve such engineering operations.   Mr Justice Cranston concluded that in doing so the Committee had been asked to consider the wrong question.  The issue was not whether the engineering works were part and parcel of making a basement but whether they constituted a separate activity of substance which as such required a separate planning permission.  It was the Council’s failure to consider that question which led to the decision being quashed.

Eatherley v (1) LB Camden (2) Ireland [2016] EWHC 3108 (Admin)