How can I build a dwelling in an acre agricultural plot/paddock?

15 May 2013
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United Kingdom
Ok so this has been a long term goal of mine to build a house in a field my parents own. It is too small to be used for farming as it is only an acre. There are two barns but I was hoping to leave them well alone and build a seperate building for use as a dwelling. There are various agricultural occupancy routes I could go down (we do currently run a chicken farm on the land although it isnt very large, less than 50chickens). I do however rent out one of the barns as storage and am wondering if I can use this as a springboard to get my dwelling then expand on the storage/workshop type of business.

Has anyone got any advice on how I can go about this? What are the first steps? Council? planning consultants? architect? Or buy a shed load of chickens...

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Just to add I quite like the look of modular housing over say a mobile home. I understand I can put a mobile home on the field as permitted development and 5years later if my business proves sustainable then turn that into a dwelling. However if I started off with a modular single storey house then would this be half way between temporary and permanent structure which means after the 5years I would just leave it standing rather than tear it down and rebuild something more substantial or say just add a 2 storey extension to the modular house.
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Yes you could say I have come to a forum to ask for some support and encouragement... isn't that what forums are for?
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Sounds like a college brick course.... build it up... tear it down :)
I think you have either to do it very cannily, in one of the barns, a little bit at a time, and spread it over 25 years so no one could ever notice anything had changed. Or apply officially and risk being discovered and turned down.

Two golden rules:
Don't actually hide anything, because they can get you for that and it invalidates the 4-year rule.
Keep on excellent terms with all neighbours, potential busybodies, and anyone who has tried similar and had their plans rejected.
Thanks Clifford. I have started kitting out the barn under the disguise of man cave. Its just going to have a toilet and small kitchenette for now. Also it has a mezz floor and staircase. Changing the roof is going to be tricky however I have heard there might be some permitted development rules that have been recently relaxed.

We get on well with all the villagers. I think as long as they dont see buildings or hear noise from them most people are too busy with their lives to notice or care.

Things like this article really confuse me but offer a bit of hope...
What state are the barns in - do you fall outside of ClassQ permitted development?
Can you get change of use to commercial for the storage business (not agriculture or forestry related buildings) first, then it would be classed as a brownfield site for redevelopment to residential.

You might also build a barn (that may look suspiciously like a house shell), keep chickens etc in it, then it becomes an existing building for conversion within the existing envelope with no new openings, rather than new build.

But to get planning actually through you will probably need a planning consultant.
I wasnt sure if I needed to get change of use for the agricultural buildings as it is strictly storage only. However as I have been renting them out as storage for around 4years now and not used them for agricultural purposes I wonder if there 4year rule can apply here or as its building use and not structure then maybe its 10year rule.
One of the barns is a traction engine shed or thats the term it was given on the planning consent. Last guy who owned the property was mad about steam engines. Does that mean its still classed as agricultural?

The plot is around 2 acres. 1 acre is the residential plot with garden and house the other is the 1 acre agricultural plot or paddock. The agricultural plot will never be farmed as its only an acre. Theres no money to be made farming an acre. Even horses need an acre per horse and they dont like being left alone. For now its just fenced off with a few chickens roaming.

I think once we have had a good tidy up of the property a consultant is going to be the way to go. It will probably cost a small fortune but worth it in the long run.
One barn is in very good condition, steel frame, insulated, block wall. The other was erected in 1950-70 era and has asbestos roof with reinforced concrete beams for the structure (a crendon barn).

the other thing I was thinking is... as there is a vast amount of roof space plonk some solar panels up there but was uncertain about putting the panels on a 50-80yr old asbestos roof. It may introduce more leaks or could go the other way and actually solve a few of them :)

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