Agricultural building to rental - planning permission?

Hi all,

Total newbie here wishing to start renting on AirBnb this summer, but we have some planning concerns.

We have a very sympathetically renovated crofters cottage in the Shropshire AONB (UK), which currently is designated as an agricultural building in planning terms. I’m wondering if we will have to apply for change of use to residential, or commercial even, in order to rent it out to paying guests? I have tried to contact my local planning office but they are proving illusive! I know the local authorities in rural communities like ours are keen to bolster tourism, so hoping someone has had a similar situation and could talk me through their own experiences.

There is little to no building work to be done (just putting in a shower and some insulation) so not sure if we will need planning permission for that or not.

Many thanks in advance helpful people!

Hi; we have an ordinary 1990’s town house in Lancaster. Our next-door neighbour converted his integral garage into an en-suite bedroom - we thought this was a good idea, so we thought we would follow suit. We applied for permission from the Council, which we got without any problem. It then turned out that our neighbour hadn’t gone through this process and the Council came down on him like a ton of bricks. So, yes, I’m pretty certain you’re going to have to apply for permission for a change of use.

It’s always wise to ask your local planning department, and can be costly if you don’t. Have you tried Shropshire County Council, rather that your District Council? They should be your first port of call, as all applications are cascaded down to Parish Council level from the top. I vaguely recall that there is a level below, you may be able to seek, I think it’s called Permitted Development, and less complicated. Your main stumbling block may be a Change of Use issue, given it’s an agricultural building, although not a dwelling as yet.

Good luck and keep us posted. Use the time to read all the very sound advice and how to avoid the many pitfalls of STR in the meantime! has a good section on “Do I need planning?”, including on Permitted Development.

Hi Joan, thanks so much for that. I did contact the county council and they referred me to our local office. They don’t seem to want to give out free advice anymore as they can charge you if you speak to a planning officer, so we may have to just bite the bullet and do that.

Thanks for your reply, will keep you posted!

Thanks for your reply, I definitely don’t want a war with the planners, or the locals! Can be a nasty old business that’s for sure. When my mum applied for permission to build her workshop centre the locals objected on the grounds that they had reason to believe she was going to start a nudist caravan park! Would have been much more exciting in fairness…

Yes you are almost certain to need planning permission. Not sure why you can’t reach your planning office. There is normally a planning officer on duty each day.

When you say elusive. Do you mean the planning desk aren’t answering the phone or responding to emails?

If so, contact your ward councillor and ask them to help.

a nudist caravan park - wonderful! - I wonder if there are similar properties on AirBnB…

1 Like

Thanks for that advice, I might have to try the councilor if still no joy today. Thanks for you help everyone!