McLoughlin Planning has successfully secured prior approval consent for the conversion of a disused Agricultural Barn to provide 2 x new residential homes in the Forest of Dean.

Class Q of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (As Amended) grants permission for the change of use and conversion of disused agricultural buildings to residential dwellings. Under the Legislation, you can secure up to 8 new homes within the same agricultural unit!

To qualify, criteria within the legislation need to be met to successfully apply to the Council for consent. If successful, permission can be given within 56 days of the Council receiving your application.

Common pitfalls with Class Q tend to be around the structural condition of the barn (is it capable to be converted without structural intervention?) and the amount of external operational work which is required to bring the building into residential use. The latter is often subjective, with the degree of change accepted often varying between different Councils. However, usually, the introduction of new doors and windows is accepted.

The applicant in this instance had previously submitted two previous Class Q applications which were unsuccessful because of the level of proposed operation work and the proposed footprint of the homes exceeding the maximum limit set by Class Q.  After reviewing the Council’s previous reasons for refusal, we worked with the applicant and their chosen architect (RRA Architects) through the identified issues to find solutions. We were able to put forward a design that responded to the Council’s concerns while demonstrating through a clear table format in our supporting planning statement that the proposal complied with the relevant criteria in the Class Q legislation.

The Council agreed with the proposed changes and granted the consent within the 56-day timeframe. We are so pleased that our client has a barn they can convert to provide two beautiful new homes.

Navigating the Class Q prior approval can be complex, particularly given the inconsistency in decision-making often found in different local authorities. Therefore, engaging with professionals can greatly assist in ensuring your proposal is robust before submission. Even if Class Q may not be achievable, a full planning application may be possible to secure your aspirations (see our previous article on planning for barns here).

Our recent successes in securing barn conversions mean we are well-placed to help you with your aspirations. If you would like an initial free consultation call, please contact Chris Moore at 01242 895008 or Alternatively, you can book a meeting via the “book an appointment” contact form on our website.

If you have received a Planning Enforcement Notice, it means that your Council has reason to believe that you have breached planning control. This can be stressful, but seeking professional advice early on can help you understand what your options are and what steps you need to take next.

What is a Planning Enforcement Notice?

A Planning Enforcement Notice is a legal document issued by your Council to enforce a breach of planning control. They are issued to land or property owners where an alleged breach of planning laws has been identified and the Council requires the owner to take action to remedy the situation. Some reasons for receiving a Planning Enforcement Notice may include:

  • Building or engineering operations were undertaken without planning permission.
  • Changing the use of a property or land without planning permission.
  • Breaching planning conditions which are within planning permission.
  • Carrying out works or a change of use that is not in accordance with planning permission.

In most cases, you will normally have already received a letter, Planning Contravention Notice, or have had an Enforcement Officer from the Council visit you regarding the alleged works/change of use before receiving an Enforcement Notice.

Already at this early stage before the notice is served seeking professional advice can be worthwhile as in some instances you may be able to agree to submit a retrospective planning application to avoid an enforcement notice altogether. Furthermore, in our experience working diplomatically with the Council is recommended to ensure a proactive solution or next steps (if possible) can be agreed upon.

What Should You Do if You Receive a Planning Contravention Notice?

 A Planning Contravention Notice is a way for the Local Planning Authority to gain access to information about an alleged breach from the land/property owner. It is not yet a legal charge on an alleged breach of planning. However, you must respond to the Contravention Notice (normally within 21 days), as not doing so is an offense (as is providing false or inaccurate information).

What Should You Do if You Receive a Planning Enforcement Notice?

You mustn’t ignore the Planning Enforcement Notice. Read through the Notice carefully to make sure you understand for what reason the Council is taking action against your property or land. The Planning Enforcement Notice will also provide information on what works or actions are required of you to remedy the breach, the deadline for when the actions required take effect, and the amount of time you are given to remedy the breach (for example, you may be given 3 months to remove unlawful works to a building).

It is important that you seek advice from a professional to understand what is required of you and what your options are before the deadline takes effect as set out in the Planning Enforcement Notice.

Responding to the Enforcement Notice

Whether you accept or deny the alleged breach of planning set out in the Enforcement Notice, you will need to act. How you respond will depend on the type of Enforcement Notice and whether you agree/disagree with the alleged breaches outlined. For example, if you are served with a breach of planning condition Enforcement Notice, then you have no right to appeal. Therefore, your options would be limited in this instance.

You may also accept the alleged breach and want to remedy the breach as outlined in the Enforcement Notice. In this instance, liaising with the Council’s Enforcement Officer will help in working towards resolving the requirements of the Notice. As stated before, in our experience working diplomatically with the Council’s enforcement team is advisable to work towards a solution.

However, if you have received an Enforcement Notice for an alleged breach of planning control for unlawful building works or a change of use of land, then you may have a right to appeal the Enforcement Notice to challenge the contents and requirements set out by the Council.  Enforcement Appeals can be under different “Grounds” depending on the area of disagreement. The planning appeal process can be complex and time-consuming, therefore seeking advice on whether this is the best route for you is considered important.

McLoughlin Planning has experience helping land and property owners with Enforcement Notices and Enforcement Planning Appeals. If you would like an initial free consultation call, please contact Chris Moore at 01242 895008 or email via Alternatively, you can book a meeting via the “book an appointment” contact form on our website.

McLoughlin Planning welcomes the decision to allow planning permission for the development of four new homes in Upper Rissington at Planning Appeal against Cotswold District Council’s planning decision to refuse.  

In October 2021, Cotswold District Council refused planning permission for the proposed development on the alleged grounds that the proposed development would harm the character and appearance of the area, including the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB); and the living condition of neighbouring and future residents concerning privacy and access to open space.  

The proposed development is on a parcel of land sited within an existing residential area on an underused piece of land inside a defined settlement boundary. Due to our good working relationship with case officers at Cotswold District Council and understanding of Local Plan policy, the proposed development was recommended for approval. Officers recognised the proposed development would make use of brownfield land, the separation distances would accord with the Cotswold Design Guide and would be surrounded by neighbouring residential development.  

Unfortunately, the case was called in by a local ward member to Planning Committee. Despite officers recommending approval, members refused planning permission. McLoughlin Planning supported Tyack Architects and the applicant through the planning appeal process, constructing a Statement of Case, Final Comments, and liaising with the Inspectorate throughout the process.  

The appeal decision is useful for the following reasons: (1) the Inspector recognised that the development would not result in an encroachment into the countryside. Whilst the site could be seen from some public viewpoints from the AONB, the houses would be read as part of the wider settlement and therefore it was concluded the development would not harm the beauty of the AONB; and (2) Given the established layout of the existing housing in the area, a degree of passive surveillance and overlooking already exists. With the new housing being in excess of 20 metres on separation distances, the Inspector agreed that this would not result in harm to neighbours or future residents’ privacy.  

When planning permission is refused, deciding whether to appeal or re-submit can sometimes be challenging. Whilst McLoughlin Planning believe planning appeals should be seen as a last resort in most cases, where proposals have demonstrated care and compliance with important Local Plan policies then a planning appeal can be worthwhile to secure the development you aspire to create.  

Our team has years of experience working on planning appeals, for both the public and private sectors. If you would like to speak with us further about your recent decision, a case due for determination or a new site you are exploring, then please contact Joe Seymour at 01242 895008 or Alternatively, you can book a meeting via our website’s “book an appointment” contact form. 

McLoughlin Planning is pleased to have secured planning permission for a replacement dwelling with South Kesteven District Council.

Planning permission had previously been refused for the proposed development, due to the orientation, siting, scale, and design of the proposal when assessed against the character and scale of development on the street scene.

Collaborating closely with the architects at K Design and Development, we were able to work through the reasons for refusal and develop a robust case for resubmission to illustrate how the applicant had responded to the Council’s concerns. This included working with the architect to assess local building heights, window/dormer layout and design, and the size/siting of the proposed dwelling in the plot to ensure the proposal did not result in overdevelopment out of character with the wider street scene.

Following further engagement with the case officer during the application process, it was agreed that the proposal had overcome the Council’s previous concerns and that the new development could be supported. By ensuring sufficient information was also submitted supporting the planning application, the number of planning conditions was reduced and allowed the applicant to proceed with development without the need to discharge any pre-commencement planning conditions.

The proposal offers a useful case study on how a refused planning permission can offer helpful information in assessing a landowner’s options for a re-submission or a planning appeal. In our experience, working proactively with the Council through a resubmission can save time and expenses. Therefore, we advise our clients to treat a planning appeal as a ‘last resort’.

In this instance, the applicant’s willingness to reimagine their dream home in response to the Council’s comments allowed us to secure planning permission in a much quicker timeframe than if we had progressed with a planning appeal. We are so pleased our client can now develop a house they can call their own.

We have had several success stories with replacement dwellings across England. If you are exploring a new residential development and would like an initial free consultation call, please contact Chris Moore at 01242 895008 or Alternatively, you can book a meeting via the “book an appointment” contact form on our website.

Mcloughlin Planning has secured Prior Approval for the conversion of a barn to a new residential home under Class Q.

Class Q permitted development right allows for the conversion of disused agricultural barns to dwellings without needing full planning permission. If the barn qualifies, then a prior approval application needs to be submitted instead. The Council is only permitted to assess a set list of conditions. These include: highways, noise, contamination risks, flood risk, natural light, ecology, internal space standards, location/siting, and the external appearance of the building.

On location and siting, the Council cannot refuse a proposal for being “unsustainable”. They can only assess whether the location is harmful or not realistic (like at the top of a steep hill). On external appearance, the applicant needs to demonstrate the barn is structurally sound and will not result in the enlargement of the structure. It is important that the barn is a genuine conversion rather than a rebuild.

Working with the project team (RRA Architects & Michael Alexander Consulting Engineers), we demonstrated that the barn was structurally sound, required limited alterations (i.e. new doors and windows), and complied with the legislative requirements. By providing the information in a structured Planning Statement, the Council was able to quickly confirm that the proposal passed.

During the application process, the Council raised concerns regarding the potential for contamination from previous poultry use. By working proactively with the officer, a suitably worded planning condition was agreed upon to resolve this issue.

We are pleased the Council was able to grant prior approval for the barn conversion. The application offers a useful case study on the benefits and pitfalls of prior approval. However, we find prior approval can offer a beneficial fallback position to help with the diversification of agricultural barns and estates for either residential (Class Q) or commercial (Class R) uses.

Our recent successes in securing barn conversions mean we are well-placed to help you with your aspirations. If you would like an initial free consultation call, please contact Chris Moore at 01242 895008 or Alternatively, you can book a meeting via the “book an appointment” contact form on our website.

We are pleased that our client’s proposed home extension has been considered lawful by the Council under permitted development.

McLoughlin Planning was first approached to apply for planning permission to extend our client’s new home. However, upon reviewing the proposal, we found that much of the work could be lawfully done under permitted development rights.

Many homes in England benefit from permitted development rights. This allows homeowners to extend and alter the property without the need for formal planning permission. Such works can include rear, side, and loft extensions to create more internal space. In this instance, the proposed rear extension and alterations to a side extension roof did not need planning permission.

Our client wanted formal reassurance that what we had found was supported by the Council before commencing work. Therefore, we prepared and applied for a Lawful Development Certificate. This type of application allows homeowners to secure a formal answer from the Council on whether their proposal is permitted development.

Applying for a Lawful Development Certificate can offer peace of mind before you start work, avoiding potential risks of Enforcement. Furthermore, having a record of the work with the Council can sometimes help with the future sale of your home.

Working with the Forest of Dean District Council on this case, we set out a clear checklist of how the proposal is permitted development. This allowed the officer to determine the application within the allotted 8 weeks. We are pleased that our client can now extend their family home with the peace of mind they were after.

Our experienced team regularly works with homeowners on various extensions, alterations, granny annexes, and garden offices to help find the right way forward.  If you would like an initial free consultation call, then please get in touch with Chris Moore at 01242 895008 or




McLoughlin Planning was approached by a local glazing manufacturer to maximise the efficient use of land within their commercial property. In particular, their aspirations were focused on securing planning permission for additional safe parking bays for HGV and delivery vehicles. As part of the company’s commitment to sustainability, the provision for EV charging within the parking area was also crucial.

Previously the site was made up of dated and uneven hardstanding providing informal parking for HGV vehicles. The existing drainage was also outdated and in need of modernisation to a more sustainable and efficient system. Working alongside experienced architectural (Ridge and Partners LLP) and engineering (Simpson TWS) teams, we were able to offer a holistic response to the commercial practice’s aspirations.  This included the provision of clear parking areas, HGV safety barriers, leveling, and the enhancement of hard standing.  The installation of sustainable drainage solutions (SuDs) was also designed into the scheme to accord with local planning policies. The new proposed layout allowed for the creation of additional parking bays and clearer entrance/exit points for drivers.

Given the several positives included, the Council offered their support early on in the proposal and we were able to effectively manage the post-submission discussions to focus on planning conditions and progressing a positive decision.

Our experienced team of planners thrives in supporting businesses in finding ways to make the best use of available space to support commercial growth through planning. Having years of experience working in numerous sectors (please see our commercial sector new section), if you would like an initial free consultation call, then please get in touch with Chris Moore at 01242 895008 or

McLoughlin Planning is pleased to have secured prior approval for the conversion of existing offices to 6 new flats in the London Borough of Sutton.

Our client had recently purchased a prominent commercial property by Sutton train station. Whilst the ground floor has an established estate agency, the offices above had been vacant for some time. Therefore, to try and revitalise the upper floors, the landowner aspired to secure new residential flats.

As the property had previously been used as offices, we initially explored whether the property could benefit from Class MA permitted development rights. This allows the conversion of Class E properties (which incorporate several commercial uses) to provide new residential flats through a prior approval application.

Prior approval allows a decision to be made based on fixed requirements, versus local planning policies. In London, this is often a restricted route, with many boroughs having introduced article 4 directions preventing certain prior approval rights.

In this instance, the London Borough of Sutton had an article 4 preventing the conversion of offices to residential flats. However, this restriction was based on the older Class O permitted development right, which was now superseded by Class MA. Therefore, this article 4 expired on 1st August 2021. Therefore, we had a window of opportunity to apply for the desired residential flats.

Working with our client, we helped advise what would be required to ensure a robust application. We also prepared a supporting statement to visually set out how the proposal complied with Class MA requirements. This was to aid the Council to assess the fixed requirements to accurately determine the proposal.

Following submission, we worked closely with the assigned case officer to ensure a positive outcome could be reached. This included negotiating for an S106 agreement to ensure the flats remain car-free, thereby negating the need for parking provisions.

We are so pleased that within a short timeframe, we were able to help our client secure new residential accommodation. The case offers a useful example of where Prior Approval applications can offer a simpler route to securing new homes compared to a traditional planning application.

If you would like to explore whether your property could benefit from prior approval rights, including Class AA or AB for upward extensions, then please get in touch with Chris Moore at 01242 895008 or


McLoughlin Planning is pleased to have secured planning permission for the extension of a residential garden to provide parking and the use of two historic barns as incidental outbuildings within the setting of a Grade II listed Farmhouse.

Planning permission had previously been granted for the conversion of a barn to provide a new residential home. Following this, subsequent planning applications had been submitted to provide a parking area to the front of the new property, garden land provision, and two adjoining smaller barns for use as incidental outbuildings.

However, errors were made regarding the description of the development and where the red/blue line plans had been cited on the supporting plans left. This left doubts on whether planning permission had lawfully been given for using land for parking and using two barns as incidental outbuildings for the new home.

The confusion from the previous permissions led to disagreements with neighbours and the involvement of the Council’s planning enforcement team to establish the lawful uses. Working proactively with the landowner and Enforcement Officer, McLoughlin Planning worked through the relevant planning history of the property to establish what could be considered lawful and where new consents needed to be sought.

In the interest of providing clarity for both the Council and future landowners of the property, the applicant sought new planning permission for the use of a parcel of land for car parking and for the incidental use of the two barns to provide incidental outbuildings. Following a lengthy planning process, including the assessment of the case by three separate case officers to ensure the description of development and location of red/blue lines on the supporting plans were correct, planning permission was finally granted.

Whilst a comparatively small proposal, this planning application provides a useful reminder of the importance of ensuring the accuracy of red/blue lines on supporting plans submitted and the description of development.

Our team at McLoughlin Planning has a proven record of success with rural and householder development projects across the Country. If you have any questions about securing planning permission for a similar proposal you wish to discuss, then please contact Chris Moore at 01242 895008 or

The introduction of the RTPI’s town planning apprenticeship route in 2019 is considered by many a welcoming addition to encourage and diversify people into the planning profession. Despite the pandemic, the RTPI advises that the flexibility of working whilst studying for a planning degree means that the apprenticeship route continues to show promising signs of going from strength to strength.

McLoughlin Planning is pleased to be an early adopter, with our current Graduate Apprentice Planner Braden Stonehouse completing his first year in 2022 and progressing through to his final year. He has shared his thoughts on the apprenticeship scheme and his first year in the planning profession:

“After completing my undergraduate degree, I was unsure whether going straight into the workplace or completing the RTPI accredited Master’s course would be the best next step for my professional development. Having limited planning experience coming out of university I felt it imperative to work in the sector but was particularly conscious of continuing my education so that I could quickly progress becoming a chartered member.

McLoughlin Planning gave me the opportunity of employment to gain invaluable workplace experience alongside a part-time Master’s course at the University of the West of England in Urban Planning as part of the Degree apprenticeship program. What was particularly attractive about this form of work/study was that there was a clear pathway from graduate to a chartered member of the RTPI.

Throughout the last year of Work/Study, I have been able to apply the theory of the University modules to being in practice dealing with live applications. The projects I’ve worked on have varied greatly too, from extensions and alterations to dwellings, to barn conversions, large housing schemes, and even hospitals, each presenting its own challenges and learning experience, across multiple local authorities.  I feel this has aided both my studies and the quality of my work. To the point where for the last few months I have been independently handling applications.

 One surprising aspect of the last year has been the amount of information I have retained through sheer osmosis. Working side by side with my colleagues and listening to how they deal with situations has been invaluable to my progression thus far”.

Braden has been a key member of the McLoughlin team from day one and has regularly demonstrated that the opportunity to mix academics with direct work helps create a well-rounded planner with the ability to tackle planning applications in a range of sectors. We are optimistic that the apprenticeship program will help encourage others to join the profession, particularly at a time when the demand for planners remains high.

McLoughlin Planning wants to support and encourage long-term careers in the planning profession for its staff by providing opportunities, like the graduate apprenticeship scheme, to help develop and grow. For further information about the apprenticeship route into planning, please follow the link below.