Changes to Permitted Development Rights spark opportunities

Permitted Development Rights (PDR’s) allow agricultural businesses to make changes to existing buildings or erect new agricultural buildings without the need for a full planning application. Recent changes have opened up more opportunities for property owners.

In May 2024, England and Wales updated PDR’s, with increased opportunities for agricultural buildings.

The new guidelines should make it simpler and less costly to build or develop, with amends to the criteria for conversion of existing agricultural buildings for homes or commercial use.

Converting buildings into dwellings is worth consideration if you are looking to maximise the value of your property. It can help create a sustainable income and make your business more resilient, generating rental income or capital to reinvest. There are restrictions which preclude development in protected landscapes, i.e. areas of outstanding natural beauty and National Parks, so development in the Lake District will still be challenging.

The summary below gives an outline of the updated rules, but it is important to seek advice when planning to make alterations to your property. We can help point you in the right direction.

  Scotland changes April 2021  England & Wales changes May 2024 
Agricultural building development  New build size limit increased to 1,000m2  For holdings of less than 5ha the size limit has increased to 1,250m2. 

For holdings of greater than 5ha the size limit has increased to 1,500m2. 

Change of use of agricultural building for dwellings  Up to 5 dwellings each may not exceed 150m²  You can now create up to 10 dwellings capped at 150m2/dwelling with maximum combined floorspace of 1,000m2*    

*You can no longer create larger (up to 465m2.) dwellings, but the limit increase from 5 – 10 is an opportunity for some.  

Up to a 4m2 single story extension to the rear of the building onto existing hard standing is now permitted. 

Flexible commercial use  Up to 500m² flexible commercial space     Floorspace now doubled to 1,000m2 

For more information contact Martin Hall, Senior Director on 013 1449 6212 or Paul Robinson, Director in Cumbria on 01900 268 633.


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