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  • Writer's picturePhoebe Powers

'Clarkson's Clause’: Transforming Architecture and Planning for Greenbelt Areas in 2024

Class Q Barn Conversion

In the evolving landscape of urban development and environmental conservation, Clarkson's Clause has emerged as a pivotal element in architecture and planning. Inspired by a notable legal case involving Jeremy Clarkson’s challenges with West Oxfordshire District Council, this provision introduces flexible new options for greenbelt regulations.

Embracing Clarkson's Clause

Clarkson's Clause, stemming from changes to Class R, allows agricultural buildings in England to transition into various commercial uses. This includes:

  • Class B2: General industrial

  • Class B8: Storage or distribution

  • Class C1: Hotels

  • Class E: Commercial, business, or service

  • Class F.2(c): Outdoor sport or recreation

  • Agricultural training


What’s New?

Expanded Space The allowable floor space for buildings changing use under Class R has doubled, now reaching 1,000 square meters. This change opens up more opportunities for extensive projects in greenbelt areas.

Relaxed Restrictions Previously, buildings used for domestic purposes, like storage, might not have qualified under Class Q for agricultural use. Now, Clarkson's Clause eases these restrictions, making it simpler to convert domestic buildings for agricultural and commercial purposes.

Inclusion of Land Land, which previously required formal applications, can now be included under permitted allowances. This change allows for conversions into training centers and outdoor sports facilities without the need for additional bureaucracy.

Understanding Class Q vs. Class R

While Class Q permits the conversion of agricultural buildings into residential dwellings, Class R focuses on enabling various commercial uses. This distinction allows architects to find innovative ways to repurpose underutilized structures, addressing both housing needs and commercial demands, especially in greenbelt areas.

Read our article on Class Q Conversions for more detail – Class Q

Class Q: Focused on creating residential dwellings.

Class R: Focused on enabling various commercial uses


A New Challenge for Architects

Clarkson's Clause challenges architects to balance development with environmental preservation. It encourages the creation of designs that integrate seamlessly with natural landscapes, using sustainable materials and methods. This law promotes eco-friendly living by enhancing biodiversity and minimising visual impact.

Isolated Barn Conversion


Moving Forward

Clarkson's Clause signifies a shift in developing greenbelt areas, paving the way for innovative, sustainable, and community-oriented projects. For architects and planners, this law offers an exciting opportunity to create designs that meet stringent criteria while pushing the boundaries of creativity and sustainability. As we navigate this new landscape, Clarkson's Clause will undoubtedly shape the future of architecture and planning in greenbelt regions, ensuring progress and preservation go hand in hand.

Need help with a Class Q or Class R conversion?

If you're considering a Class Q barn conversion and could benefit from the expertise of an experienced architect, feel free to reach out to us. Whether you have questions about your property's eligibility, require assistance with the application process, or seek comprehensive architectural design services, we're here to provide the support you need.

BCAE Architects  

01772 230538 

Unit 17, Guest House Farm, Runshaw Lane, Euxton, PR7 6HD United Kingdom 



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