Changes to Permitted Development Rights (PDR) for Farm and Forestry Buildings

The Scottish Government is making changes to increase farm and forestry permitted development rights (PDR) which are intended to support rural development and diversification.

These changes include increasing the size of agricultural buildings and allowing some farm/forestry building to be converted into homes and other uses without the need for planning permission.

However, these extended rights are still subject to a number of conditions and limitations including size, height, distance from a public road. There also remains the requirement for prior notification/prior approval from the planning authority.

One of the biggest changes - which will interest Bell Ingram clients – is allowing the conversion of existing buildings to residential dwellings. It is not intended that the right should permit the redevelopment of sites, but to allow alterations to an existing building to function as a dwelling with installation of new doors and windows being included. Conditions may still be attached when Prior Approval is given and a building warrant would also still be required for the conversion.

In my experience, the conversion of farm buildings to residential use requires extensions, adaptions and often a new build element beyond just conversion to make the development financially viable. Such changes would not become permitted development. Therefore we would not necessarily advise trying to stay within the constraints of permitted development, where planning permission would otherwise be supported in principle and provide more flexibility to create a well-designed and viable project.

If you have a project in mind, it is always wise seek planning advise at an early stage. Contact Bell Ingram’s Planning Consultant Catherine Newton on 01738 621 121 or email

Catherine Newton

Planning Consultant
Tel: 01738 621 121

Article posted on 29/03/2021

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