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A Barn Conversion on a Moat – Well That Was a First!

Thu 16 May 2019

After nearly 12 years in this job, I thought I had come across most scenarios however this was definitely a first and a learning curve at that to.

The project started as normal with clients requesting assistance with a project. An oil tank fire which had spread from the neighbouring church grounds to their barn. Our instructions at this stage were to help them with the relevant works and consents for the reinstatement of the building.

This is when the project first became different. The barn was located within the grounds of a Grade II listed farmhouse, this is not unusual in itself and something which we deal with fairly regularly. The barn however also abutted a church boundary wall, the church was Grade II* listed and had two other structures in its grounds which were Grade II listed, further to this within about 100m of the barn was a Grade I listed tithe barn, unsurprisingly of significant historical merit.

We successfully obtained all relevant permissions required for the reinstatement, for our clients, but during the process a discussion was had about the conversion of the barn to a residential dwelling, thus turning the building from storage to a potential income earner for our clients.

Our clients agreed with this proposal and the matter progressed. McCartneys Planning and Survey Department produced architectural designs for the proposal, together with all relevant paperwork required and obtaining associated reports such as ecology surveys. Detailed discussions were undertaken with the conservation officers prior to submission which helped adapt the proposal to one which all parties could accept.

During further research prior to submission it was discovered that the site was partially located on a scheduled ancient monument and a moat ran two sides of the listed farmhouse, within the adjoining field. The application progressed well through the planning system until English Heritage chucked us a curve ball when they said they believed the moat used to completely surround the farmhouse and therefore was most likely the barn was located on top of it. A very big surprise to all especially our clients and even the LPA conservation officer.

Following our client’s instructions and with detailed discussions and guidance, together with monitoring from English Heritage a firm of archaeologists dug several trial holes to determine if the moat did indeed run under the building. Short answers was yes it did and was less than 400mm typically below the surface. As a result we completely redesigned our proposed floors and footings of the extensions so as to not affect the scheduled monument. This included designing a bespoke rafter foundation, and raising the floor levels where practical. These details were all approved by English Heritage and consent was granted for the conversion of the barn to residential.

So a fairly simple barn reinstatement following a fire turned into a conversion of a barn located on a scheduled ancient monument, in the curtilage of a Grade II listed building, within sight of Grade II* and Grade I structures into a 2 bedroomed barn conversion which included the complete rebuilding of 2 extensions. Safe to say not something we see everyday or even every year, however McCartneys Planning and Survey Department were able to assist our clients throughout from undertaking measured surveys, preparation of architectural design drawings, to obtaining planning and listed building consents for this project.

If you have a project big or small please contact your local McCartneys Planning and Survey Department and they will be happy to assist you.

Geraint Jones

McCartneys Planning and Survey Department 01544230316

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