Draft Horsham District Local Plan 2019-2036

Comment ID /5461
Document Section Draft Horsham District Local Plan 2019-2036 Economic Development (Key Questions) Policy 9 - Conversion of Agricultural and Rural Buildings to Commercial, Community and Residential Uses Policy 9- Conversion of Agricultural and Rural Buildings to Commercial, Community and Residential Uses View all on this section
Respondent Steve Bailey View all by this respondent
Response Date 30 Mar 2020
What is the nature of this comment?
  • Object
The introduction of this new policy is welcome but it is unclear and needs to go further.

The presumptive right to convert an agricultural barn into a dwelling under Class Q regulations is often abused. Some landowners try to circumvent the full planning process by using the Prior Approval route.

The case of Hibbitt v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, EWHC 2853 [2016] has gone some way to redress the issue by differentiating between rebuilding rather than conversion. However, substantial reconstruction may be required not only when a building is derelict, but also when the 'barn' has never been more than steel poles and a tin roof.

We welcome the attempt to set out some guidance on when conversion might be appropriate. However, the policy does not make clear whether it applies to Prior Approval or to full planning applications.

If the former, the policy needs to address:

(a) transport and highways impacts of the development,

(b) noise impacts of the development,

(c) contamination risks on the site,

(d) flooding risks on the site,

(e) whether the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order, and

(f) the design or external appearance of the building.

Point (e) is critical.

If the policy is intended to apply to full planning applications, then the sustainability of isolated dwellings deserves much more emphasis and the full NPPF requirements apply.


Proposed Change The policy needs further detailed consideration.