Having the right business premises can be hugely important across the commercial sector, be it offices, light industrial, general industrial, storage or specialist units. Sites in rural areas can lend themselves to accommodating these uses either new build or converting existing buildings.

You may be able to generate additional income should you have:

  • Surplus or redundant buildings that you could rent out
  • Premises for your own business, for example processing an agricultural product into food and drink
  • Previously developed land or buildings that could have an alternative use

Is planning permission required?

Regardless of the reason for considering commercial buildings, whether it is for yourself or to rent out, you will almost certainly need planning consent. It may be possible in some situations to utilise permitted development rights (PD), otherwise you will need to apply for full planning permission.

Commercial buildings in rural locations are not always supported by policy, so you should seek good quality professional advice early on in the process as sometimes a longer term strategy may be required.

Watch our webinar here:

Using farm buildings for commercial use

Use Classes - Agricultural building conversion for commercial use

  • Class B8 - storage or distribution
  • Class C1 - hotels
  • Class E - commercial, business and services
  • Sui generis - uses in a class of their own, such as theatres, funfairs, nightclubs and more

For further information go to the Planning Portal.

Do you meet the criteria for Class R permitted development rights? There are a number of factors to consider:

  • How long the building has been in agricultural use
  • Size of the floor area
  • Location and proximity to other buildings

Budget: The range can differ depending on complexity, design requirement and size etc. As a ballpark, if you want to use a planning consultant for your agricultural application then you should be budgeting £1000 to £2000.

Timescale: For a permitted development you should estimate 8 to 12 weeks, full planning application approx 20 weeks.

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