Converting Farm Buildings
Rural tourism can provide a valuable income stream for farm businesses. Converting barns and outhouses into a furnished holiday let has become a popular way for farmers to diversify their business, especially as there is unsatisfied demand for holiday accommodation in the south and south east of England. In the past though it has presented farmers with a series of legislation and planning requirements that has made the process of conversion less straightforward
On 30 May 2013 new permitted development rights came into effect which allow existing agricultural buildings to be used for a variety of non-agricultural purposes without the need to obtain full planning permission. The changes are potentially a very significant boost for farmers who are considering diversifying their business.
The law has now changed with the addition of a new "Class M" to the General Permitted Development Order 1995. This allows an existing agricultural building to change to one of a number of specific permitted uses of which use as a leisure facility under Class D2 allows for the conversion into a furnished holiday let.
While Class M removes the need to obtain planning permission it is still necessary to notify the council of the proposal to advance.
If you are a farmer who has considered converting a redundant farm building then hopefully these changes will now make your decision process easier.