Permitted Development Prior Approval

18th June, 2019 by Acorus in General

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) has several sections where prior approval is required.

Rural land owners will commonly use Part 6 Class A of the GPDO (General Permitted Development Order) for agricultural development for the erection of agricultural buildings on units of 5 hectares (approximately 12.5 acres) or more.  This is commonly referred to in the agricultural community as a 28 Day Notice.

Various criteria apply where development is not permitted such as buildings that exceed 1000m2, where the building is to be used for livestock and is within 400 metres of the curtilage of a protected building or 25 metres of a trunk/classified road. 

In terms of Part 6 Class A, an application has to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) for them to determine whether their prior approval is required as to the siting, design and external appearance of the building.


The LPA then have 28 days to determine the application and should notify the applicant in writing as to whether prior approval is required or not.  If neither are received by the applicant and the 28 days is exceeded, development can commence but only if it is permitted development.

Different rules apply for units of less than 5 hectares where prior approval is not applicable.

Since 2013 various other options have become available to landowners under permitted development rights where prior approval applies but the time limit is 56 days.


Class O – Change of use from Offices to Dwelling Houses.

Class PA – Light Industrial to Dwelling Houses.

Class Q – Agricultural Buildings to Dwelling Houses.

Class R – Agricultural Buildings to Flexible Commercial Uses.


A raft of criteria applies to the above Classes and Planning Practice Guidance to consider so advice should be sought.

The emphasis is on the LPA to take positive steps to provide written notification to the applicant of their decision within the time limits, as unlike planning applications prior approvals have an absolute deadline. 

There are several pitfalls with prior approval and permitted development….

Class Q and Part 6 Class A are linked which prohibit both;

If you are asked for prior approval under Part 6 Class A this can create a further determination period often eight weeks thus delaying projects.

If the LPA exceed the 28 or 56 days this does not give the development automatic permission, the rules still need to be met. 


For more infomation refer to the following Designing Agricultural Buildings information sheet.


If you require assistance to apply for an agricultural building under Part 6 Class A or would like to discuss other permitted development options, please contact your local Acorus office.

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