Listed farmhouse and conservation area harmed by housing

Listed building consent and planning permission have been denied for various works to a grade II listed 17th century farmhouse in a Cheshire conservation area to facilitate the erection of between six and 11 dwellings, an inspector ruling that it would have an unacceptable impact on heritage assets.

The council raised no objection to the conversion of a barn to a dwelling but asserted that the demolition of a gable end of the farmhouse would be unacceptable. In contrast the appellant stated that the gable formed part of a 19th century addition and was of low significance being an ad hoc addition without aesthetic merit.

Although it might not be an example of ‘polite architecture’, the inspector opined, it had blended into the street scene and did not appear out of place. Parts of the external walls would be removed and it was an example of how different building techniques were used at different times. Further harm to the setting of the farmhouse and listed structures would be inflicted by the erection of the houses which would reduce the open nature of the site, a paddock harking back to days when the site lay within an agricultural setting. The fact that the setting of the listed building had subsequently changed did not mean that it was inappropriate to restrict development which was harmful. The farmhouse and barn would be ‘subsumed’ within a modern housing development and it would be difficult to appreciate the former farm buildings as a coherent group, with additional harm inflicted on the character of the conservation area.

Inspector: David Prentis; Inquiry

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