Barn conversion remote from existing settlements

A barn in Cumbria which was subject to prior approval under Class MB of Part 3 to Schedule 2 of the GPDO 2014 has been judged unsuitable for residential use because of its remote location and the impact on the character of the area.

The council stated that the barn would require significant alterations in order to enable its conversion including the building of new walls and a replacement roof. It also claimed that the site lay almost two kilometres from the nearest settlement and would involve the construction of a significant new length of access track. In response, the appellant stated that a track already existed and in any event its construction was permitted under paragraph MB(b) of the order which allowed all building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building.

In ruling in favour of the appellant in respect of the extent of the re-building works, paragraph MB(i) of the order allowed for the replacement of windows, doors, walls and roofs, the inspector noted. Nonetheless, paragraph 17 of the national planning policy framework sought to preserve the natural beauty of the countryside and paragraph 55 advised on the need to limit isolated new dwellings in the countryside. Although many barn conversions were likely to occur outside of existing settlements the appeal building was remote and would lead to a domestication of the surrounding area. This would be compounded by the construction of the access track. The immediate setting of the barn would not be enhanced and consequently its conversion would not be permitted development.

Inspector: Elaine Worthington; Written representations

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