Agricultural Permitted Development Rights and Prior Approval Updates

In a significant move on May 21, 2024, the UK government expanded the permitted development rights specifically targeted at the agricultural sector. Let’s delve into how these legislative adjustments are influencing the online application processes and what you need to know to stay ahead.

Landscape of Change: What’s New?

The recent government extension includes the construction and modification of agricultural buildings, alongside changing their use to either residential dwellings or for flexible commercial activities. This broadening, however, has highlighted a gap in the current Planning Portal’s ability to handle these new directives effectively.

Immediate Changes to the Application Process

While the Portal is undergoing updates to reflect these changes, certain application types, such as ‘Prior Approval: Building for agricultural/forestry use’ and changes to the use of agricultural buildings for dwelling houses or flexible commercial purposes, won’t immediately mirror the new laws. For now, applicants needing to navigate these waters can utilize updated 2024 blank PDF forms that are temporarily aligned with the current legislation.

Working Around the Gaps

If you’re looking to leverage the developmental rights that existed before May 21, 2024, there’s a provision. Up until May 20, 2025, the traditional rights can be applied under the transitional provisions on current applications, thereby offering a temporary workaround amidst these changes.

Specific Updates to Applications

Anticipate modifications across various application categories which will include detailed questions designed to accommodate these new criteria:

Building for Agricultural/Forestry Use

This section will soon feature updated questions that reflect an increase in the allowable ground area coverage and gathering specifics about any related engineering operations, factoring even the involvement of scheduled monuments.

Agricultural Buildings to Dwelling houses

Expect substantial updates in compliance with the new laws. This will include detailed eligibility criteria, space standards, and potential impacts on neighboring amenities should there be planned extensions.

From Agriculture to Flexible Commercial Use

The scope of permissible commercial uses is set to broaden significantly, alongside an increase in the cumulative floor space allowance from 500 to 1000 square meters. These updates will ensure more robust criteria for application processes.

What This Means for Local Authorities

Local authorities may temporarily encounter applications where past criteria are used to address the newer development rights. This might involve additional documents or cover letters explaining deviations. Post update, local authorities will need to scrutinize PDF formats of application forms to ensure compliance with the new question sets, pending full integration into the legacy systems.


The expansion of permitted development rights for agricultural properties marks a significant evolution in how land use is managed across the UK. For both applicants and local authorities, staying informed and prepared for these changes is crucial. Keep an eye on updates for the definitive dates and details of these updates, and remember we have more guides, such as: Government Grants for Sustainable Homes.


  1. Can I still use the pre-May 2024 development rights?
    Yes, under the transitional provisions, you can use the previous rights until May 20, 2025.
  2. How are application questions changing for agricultural buildings becoming dwellings?
    Questions will include compliance with new space standards and detailed impacts on neighboring properties.
  3. What are the new allowances for commercial use under the expanded rights?
    The permissible floor space has increased from 500 to 1000 square meters, broadening the scope for commercial activities.
  4. Where can I find the most current information on these updates?
    Keep checking the official Planning Portal for the latest updates and implementation dates.
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