Can a farmer turn a stable into a house?

John Conlin / 26 April 2018

A reader is concerned his neighbour is planning on converting his new stable block into a house.


A farmer has purchased the field next to us and applied for planning permission to build large, two storey stable. We have now learned that his son has obtained planning approval to convert another relatively new agricultural building into a house.

Is there any possibility that the proposed building next to us might similarly be converted?


The key word in the planning policy document allowing conversion of agricultural buildings is ‘Redundant’. Any application needs to show that the building is visually worth preserving and no longer suitable for agricultural use either physically (not tall enough to allow entry by modern farm machinery) or economically (the specific use for which the building was designed is no longer a viable activity).

The only other remote possibility is an application to convert as housing for an essential agricultural worker but any such permission (which may have been the case in the matter of the farmer’s son) would be subject to an AOC (agricultural occupancy condition). Planning law is constantly revised but, at the moment, I do not think you need be concerned.

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