Cornwall LivingIssue #150

An Ever-Evolving Landscape

Maximise the potential of your agricultural assets with the help of Bell Cornwell – Chartered Town Planners.

Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the UK’s food security, rural economies and preservation of our countryside landscapes. To protect and provide resilience to agricultural businesses, diversification can be important. With recent changes to permitted development rights (PDRs), farmers and landowners now have greater flexibility to diversify and optimise the use of their land and buildings without the need for full planning permission.

From 21st May 2024, the permissible floor space for converting agricultural buildings to residential dwellings has doubled to 1,000 sqm, accommodating up to 10 homes. Additionally, the floor space limit for commercial conversions has increased to 1,000 sqm, opening a wide range of business opportunities, including industrial, storage, hospitality and sports facilities. For larger agricultural units, the size limit for new buildings or extensions has been raised to 1,500 sqm for farms over 5 hectares and 1,250 sqm for those between 1-5 hectares. These changes provide exciting prospects for farm expansion and diversification.

However, it’s crucial to navigate the complex planning process, which is where Bell Cornwell’s expertise as a local town planning firm in Cornwall is essential. While the relaxed PDRs offer more flexibility, prior approvals and lawful development certificates may still be required, ensuring compliance with national standards and local planning policies.

When PDRs do not apply, obtaining full planning permission becomes necessary. Common scenarios include barn conversions in more sensitive landscapes, proposals for agricultural purposes, rural worker housing, temporary dwellings and residential development. Each case requires a compelling argument, addressing factors such as agricultural need, essential worker requirements, business viability and the impact on the local environment.

The planning landscape is ever evolving, and seizing opportunities often demands strategic thinking and expert guidance. By working closely with Bell Cornwell, landowners and developers can maximise the potential of their agricultural assets while respecting the delicate balance between economic growth and environmental preservation.



If you have any projects or similar developments contact Bell Cornwell today on 01726 210 341 or email