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Amendments To the Class Q Permitted Development Right (May 2024)

The UK Government has introduced significant changes to the Class Q permitted development right, which facilitates the conversion of agricultural buildings into dwellings. These amendments will take effect from 21st May 2024. While the increase in the maximum allowable dwellings from five to ten has grabbed headlines, there are several other key points to consider. Let’s explore them:

1. Increased Allowance and Floorspace

  • The maximum number of dwellings that can be created within an agricultural unit has doubled, now allowing up to ten dwellings.
  • The maximum floorspace for new dwellings has been set at 1,000 sq.m.
  • However, individual dwellings cannot exceed 150 sq.m in size.

2. New Build Single-Storey Rear Extensions

  • You can now add a single-storey rear extension (up to 4m) to your converted barn, provided it is on an existing hardstanding.
  • This extension can enhance the functionality and living space of your dwelling.

3. Qualification Criteria for Barns

  • To take advantage of the permitted development right, your barn must meet specific criteria:
    • Land Use History: The site must have been part of an established agricultural unit on or before 24th July 2023. Even if the barn is no longer in agricultural use, it may still qualify if it remains part of an established agricultural unit.
    • Access and Space Standards: Barns must have suitable access to a public highway and comply with nationally prescribed minimum space standards.
    • Protected Areas: Certain barns, such as those in listed buildings, Conservation Areas, or National Landscapes (formerly AONBs), cannot benefit from Class Q.
    • Seek professional advice to determine if your barn qualifies under the new criteria.

4. Transitional Arrangements

  • If you’re considering a larger dwelling (exceeding 150 sq.m), there’s good news! The amended legislation provides a ‘window of opportunity’ until 21st May 2025 for those wishing to apply under the previous Class Q criteria.
  • This allows flexibility for specific circumstances.

In Summary

While the headlines focus on increased dwelling allowances, it’s essential to understand the nuances of the new legislation. If you’re planning a barn conversion, seek professional advice to navigate the process effectively.

For bespoke advice related to the Class Q changes and their implications for your development projects, feel free to get in touch with us at Living Space Architects. We’re here to assist you! 🌟

Remember, each barn has its unique story waiting to be transformed into a beautiful home! 🏡✨

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Riverside Revival: A Family Dream Comes True in Starcross

Nestled along the picturesque banks of the River Exe lies Exeleigh Lodge, a hidden gem waiting to be rediscovered. What was once a charming but tired bungalow is about to undergo a remarkable transformation into a contemporary riverside haven for a young family. Join us on this captivating journey as we unveil the story behind this exciting first floor extension project that promises to breathe new life into Starcross.


Discovering Potential

Exeleigh Lodge captured the hearts of our clients with its idyllic location and breathtaking river views. Situated on the tranquil south coast of Devon, this sprawling property boasts a canopied garden and easy access to Exeter and the Torbay area. Despite its enchanting surroundings, the lodge required some TLC to fulfil its potential as a modern family home.


A Collaborative Vision

Enter Living Space Architects, entrusted with the task of retaining the lodge’s character while infusing it with contemporary flair. From the outset, collaboration was key as our clients shared their vision through Pinterest boards, paving the way for a truly bespoke design journey. Led by Ellen, our PassivHaus Designer and architect, and Kirsty, our conservation accredited architect, our team embarked on a creative exploration to marry tradition with innovation.


Navigating Challenges

The journey wasn’t without its hurdles, with the lodge’s proximity to listed building presenting a unique set of challenges. However, with expert guidance from a planning consultant, and input from ecologists and arboricultural surveyors, along with enthusiastic input from our clients, our proposals struck the perfect balance between preservation and progress.


Designing for Tomorrow

The culmination of our efforts is a sleek, pitched roof extension that seamlessly integrates with the existing structure. Featuring a spacious family room with panoramic estuary views, a cosy wood-burning stove, and eco-conscious elements such as solar shading, a PV array, and triple glazing, the design reflects our clients’ commitment to sustainability and comfort.


A Triumph in Planning

With bated breath, we awaited the outcome of our planning submission. To our delight, approval came swiftly and seamlessly. Thanks to our collaborative approach and meticulous attention to detail, Exeleigh Lodge’s transformation received the green light, paving the way for a bright future by the river.


Looking Ahead

As we eagerly prepare for the next chapter, our focus turns to bringing the design to life. Technical drawings are underway, signalling the start of construction this summer. Keep an eye out for our signboard as you wander along the riverside, and join us in celebrating the rebirth of Exeleigh Lodge – a testament to the power of vision, collaboration, and the unwavering dedication to creating home that capture the imagination and inspire generations to come.

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Starting your PassivHaus project

Wow! The end of 2023 and beginning of 2024 has been busy for us here at Living Space Architects, and despite our best intentions, we could not keep up with the Blog Posts recording Ellen’s progress through the training for the PassivHaus Designer course.

2024 has bought excellent news for Ellen and the team at Living Space Architects, passing the exam with flying colours and confirming Ellen’s status as a fully qualified PassivHaus Designer!

What is PassivHaus?

What does this mean for our clients?

Ellen is now qualified to provide the expertise required to realise your PassivHaus aspirations. Whether you are looking to uplift your project’s eco status, or take it to the next level of comfort with a PassivHaus, we are here to help you.

So are you dreaming of a low energy, high performance, comfortable home with low heating bills? Get in contact to start your PassivHaus journey!

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Site visit to our Stoke Poges build

It’s always exciting to see a project that you have created coming together.

That’s exactly how we felt on our latest trip to Stoke Poges, to visit the site of our innovative new build with a contemporary design and similar feel to a German Huf Haus.

The greyness of the day didn’t attract from the immensity of the building as it has begun to take shape, complementing the plot with its innovative structure and creative design.

With the main structure built, and character of the interior being established, we are well on our way to completing the project in time for our May target.


So, what makes this project so unique? 

Even at first glance it is clear that this property doesn’t fall in line with convention. Its dramatic pitched roof, high ceilings, glass exterior and timber structure give it a different feel to the brick houses that Britain has grown so accustomed to. Its open-plan design and use of windows and glass allow it to capture sunlight and create a bright and modern place to live.


What inspired the design?

Our client came to us with a brief of creating a house with a similar feel to the award-winning German Huf Haus design. Big open spaces and natural light appealed to them, however they wanted the house to have a little more privacy and a more ‘homely’ feel than the original German design. We therefore designed a house with some Huf Haus characteristics, such as the pitched roof, high ceiling, terraces and large glass windows to capture natural light, while maintaining some more British features of a home and tailoring the property to suit our clients preferences, such as supplementing a brick wall on the outside ground floor.


What other features does the house have?

We decided to use innovative construction for the new building, settling on Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) from Kingspan TEK. These are made of wood, but their invisible structure gave us freedom with the interior design. Furthermore, their prefabrication meant that construction time was less and there was limited on-site waste. The panels also have high energy efficiency, allowing for a thinner construction than usual insulation.


What comes next?

Although our Stoke Poges build has begun to take shape and acquire character, there are still things to be done before our May deadline. Currently, underfloor heating and electrics are being fitted and then decorating and finishes for the property will commence. We can’t wait to follow the progress of this contemporary and modern design, and are looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Living Space Architects awarded Best of Houzz 2018 award

Extending a small family home with simple techniques and impressive results

This project is the perfect example of a house that really has become a home.

Jill and James McDowell came to us wanting to give their property in Earl Richards a contemporary revamp. Having been in the family for years, they were not prepared to part ways with their wonderful house, but realised it was time for it to be modernised and opened up to make best use of space and the garden- especially with grandchildren now scurrying around.

They wanted to extend the kitchen and link the dining area to the garden, opening up the inside and creating more space and light. As the property was relatively small, we were able to use fairly simple and low-cost techniques to meet these needs in an innovative and attractive way.

“It was great, as we could apply ideas usually used on larger projects and adapt them to this smaller design” said Kirsty Curnow-Bayley, a Living Space Architect who worked on the project.  “We used simple techniques to create really interesting spaces”.


Below you can see the finished work: seamless access to the garden, great views and a pleasant, bright kitchen space within. Jill and James were delighted with the results.


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