The government has announced an extension to permitted development rights that allow farmers to increase the size of their farm buildings and convert buildings into homes without full planning permission.

Housing minister Dominic Raab has extended permitted development rights, the right to convert buildings without having to seek a full planning permission. The size limit of new agricultural buildings has been increased to 1,000 square metres and allows for more options to convert existing farm buildings into family homes.

Tim Breitmeyer is president of CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses. He said: “Permitted development is a success story. It shows how greater certainty and clearer rules can unlock investment potential and provide a boost to rural businesses and communities. We are pleased the government has listened to us and extended this successful policy further but now need to see it used more widely with local authorities following the right granted.

“Changing permitted development rights to increase the size limit of farm buildings will ensure farmers are better able to cope with the demands of modern farming and help to create more profitable businesses. This, along with the increased ability to build more desperately needed homes by converting existing farm buildings will reinvigorate rural communities and help to build a stronger, more sustainable countryside.”

However, Mr Breitmeyer warned that problems remain with significant local authority resistance to the use of permitted development rights, despite the clear policy direction given by the government.

He said: “We have seen an increase in the number of applications for new rural homes being bought forward, but too many are still being refused. We will continue to work with the government and local authorities to promote the positive impact of these types of conversions.”