Dream of escaping to the country but struggling to get planning permission on your ideal plot or find the house of your dreams?

We might have the solution- in the form of a Class Q Barn Conversion.

We know what you’re thinking… First, what does Class Q mean? Second, why on earth would I want to live in a barn?

Both are fair points. Luckily, we can answer both of those questions, and by the end you’ll no doubt be running around the country searching for that perfect Class Q barn to provide the perfect rural retreat.

What is a Class Q Barn Conversion and why should I care?

Under the General Permitted Development Order, many existing  agricultural buildings can be adapted, and changes can be made that effect their external appearance. This includes adding new walls, roofing , windows and doors, as well as incorporating mains services and drainage without having to acquire planning permission from the local authority.

This means that the right barn can be adapted into an ideal home in the heart of the country. Securing planning permission for a country plot can be difficult, and with idyllic rural retreats being snapped up in the blink of an eye, a Class Q barn offers a valuable alternative. What’s more, the extent of their potential hasn’t yet been realised, so it couldn’t be a more ideal time to start searching for these hidden gems buried amongst the rolling hills.

Kirsty Curnow-Bayley, Director of Living Space Architects commented:

“Class Q Barn Conversions provide a huge opportunity for our clients to create spectacular new homes in the countryside. By re-using existing structures, there is no need to compromise on location and restrictions can be overcome by inventive design approaches, allowing for the creation of stunning rural retreats.”

If it’s so good, why isn’t everyone doing it?

Class Q barns are a dream project for both the architect and client, but the process of gaining permission is not as straight forward as it seems. To fulfil Class Q conversion requirements, the barn has to fulfil a number of criteria set out in the General Permitted Development Order.   Open barns do not often  meet the criteria, however, barns with three or more sides enclosed can be acceptable for conversion, so long as enough of the original building is kept intact.  The approach of different local planning departments varies so it is important to get good professional advice prior to submitting;  Alister King Smith of Stags professional services says:

”Class Q permitted development rights can provide a much simplified way of navigating the planning jungle and for those with a building or buildings fitting the criteria or looking at purchasing an unconverted property with the permission already in place they can provide some exciting opportunities. However, as with all planning matters taking the right advice early on is essential.”

Tell me more…

Under the latest 2018 amendments to the Order, floorspace can be converted into:

-Up to three ‘larger homes’ (combined floorspace of 465 sq m.)

-Up to five ‘smaller homes’ (each less than 100 sq m)

-A mix of both (max 5 units overall)

Class Q Barn Conversions therefore provide masses of room for possibility (pun intended) and have huge potential for budding country home-owners.


Class Q Barn Conversions really do provide a unique opportunity to create your ideal dwelling in the heart of the open countryside. The latest amendments to the Order widen opportunities and provide exciting prospects for architects and clients alike.

Living Space Architects are well-equipped to give advice regarding Class Q barn conversions. Having successfully secured permitted developments in the past, we know what is required to succeed and can help you get the leg-up you need to get started on your dream country retreat.

To get further advice on whether your barn is suitable for conversion you can also contact planning consultant Alister King Smith at  Stags professional services

What’s next?

Read our 10 Top Tips for Gaining Class Q Consent as a starting point, and check out our previous success stories.

Of course, we can also always be contacted directly with specific queries, enquiries and requests.

With the right structure, design and guidance, a tired and weathered barn might well become your dream rural retreat- you can leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind and finally escape to the country.