Barn conversions would harm historic farmstead

The conversion of listed barns into two holiday lets within an historically complete Devon farmstead in a national park was rejected by an inspector.

Examining the impact of the proposed works, the inspector concluded the buildings’ original plan-form would be affected and so also any physical understanding of traditional use and function. He also noted an unacceptable domestication of the rugged paddock setting of the barns through the introduction of car parking and patios. Moreover, he held a residential conversion would disrupt the hierarchy of the farmstead, where the main farmhouse had been the only domestic building on the site. Consequently, he concluded that the conversion would materially detract from the architectural and historic importance of the listed barns and the setting of the listed farmhouse and ancillary structures within its curtilage.

This harm to heritage assets was assessed to be less than substantial. Applying the NPPF paragraph 134 test, the inspector recognised clear benefits for farm diversification, job creation, and investment in the fabric of the buildings, but did not consider these outweighed the heritage harm identified. He also took account of the special circumstances created by the authentic character and intact nature of the individual buildings and farmstead as a whole that were not found in other similar holiday let conversions of farm buildings in the area. Finding also inadequate mitigation for loss of bat roosts, he dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: H Porter; Written representations


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