Recent Court of Appeal Judgement; a useful tool for barn conversion applications.
It has been well reported in the development press that Class Q applications can be challenging to get through local planning authorities. Likewise, planning applications for ‘modern barns.
An appeal decision in Suffolk from 2019 was expected to be a useful tool. It established that a barn conversion policy in a local plan, with more or different criteria than those in Paragraph 79c of the NPPF (namely redundancy and immediate setting enhancement) are “more restrictive than the Framework” and therefore “in conflict with it, [being] substantially more restrictive”.
Despite this, local planning authorities and appeal Inspectors appear to be reluctant to repeat the finding.
However, we believe a recent Court of Appeal judgement (Bramshill v SSHCLG  EWCA Civ 320) should help and we are looking forward to testing it.
On the matter of isolated homes in the countryside, and therefore the applicability of Paragraph 79, Bramshill judgement has summarised that the correct interpretation of the term “isolated homes in the countryside” is that set out in Paragraph 42 of the Braintree case (Braintree District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWCA Civ 610,  2 P. & C.R. 9) and requires planning officers and Inspectors to consider whether the development would be physically isolated, in the sense of being isolated from “a settlement” rather than being isolated from “other dwellings”.
So, if a barn is away from settlements, it matters not whether there are other dwellings nearby (for example, the farmhouse), it is ‘isolated’ for the purposes of invoking Paragraph 79 and the appeal case which tells us that any policy criteria beyond those in Paragraph 79c of the NPPF must be “more restrictive than the Framework” and therefore “in conflict with it”.
If you have a barn which you think is unlikely to meet the sorts of barn conversion policy criteria set out below, then get in contact and let’s see what we can do.
|Examples of barn conversion criteria that could be inconsistent with the Framework and therefore hold less weight in decision making:|
Examples of barns we have successfully overseen: