Pre-application enquiries had led to the original building, which was in a very poor state of repair, being locally listed and categorised with a presumption in favour of its retention. The inspector felt that this had no local or national policy basis and carried little weight. Contrary to the council’s assertions, he did not feel that paragraph 130 of the NPPF on deliberate neglect was applicable. The building had only been identified as a heritage asset in 2014 and much of the deterioration had taken place before that time, he observed.
In his view, the existing building had low historic value, no archaeological significance and low architectural significance, being a typical rather than especially good example of Victorian vernacular. He also assessed the significance of its setting as low, since this had been much altered by new roads, conversion of outbuildings and reductions in the curtilage.
The inspector agreed that repairing the building would be uneconomic. A replacement on a different part of the site would improve living conditions for future occupiers, benefit the farm business and improve highway safety, he held. He concluded that the existing building’s significance was low and the scheme’s overall benefits, albeit mostly private ones to the owner, outweighed the harm arising from its loss.
Inspector: Jonathan Roberts; Hearing