DC Casebook: Housing conversion - Conversion allowed to secure feature

A barn conversion has been allowed after an inspector found that it would secure the long-term future of a significant feature in the rural landscape of County Durham.

The property was 5km from the nearest town. The inspector agreed that it was not in a particularly accessible location for local facilities and services but accepted that it was near a village offering a limited range of facilities. The proposal merited some support as it offered an alternative to long-distance commuting for people who would choose to live in a rural location, he found.

The site lay in an area of high landscape value featuring enclosed fields and isolated agricultural buildings. The inspector found the building an interesting and typical example of a traditional field barn dating from about 1860 and considered it to be of significant vernacular interest in the local context.

While changing agricultural practices had rendered it redundant for its previous use, he decided that the case for its retention as part of the historic landscape pattern was clearly made out. The proposed access arrangements would not adversely affect landscape character, he held. Although any domestic activity would have some adverse visual impact, he held that this would be more than outweighed by the overall benefits of the scheme to the local landscape.

Inspector: Graham Snowdon; Written representations

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