Barn Conversions

The fun of designing within a larger mass and volume

Barn conversions - In terms of architectural style there are many options of how you can refurbish or rebuild your barn. Often there are listed building restrictions to retain as much of the original structure as possible. This offers a beautiful, traditional canvas which acts as a frame for the new purpose of the building as well as the chosen interior design style.

For example, we created a new workshop in an old stable block up high on the Sussex Downs. This meant the wonderful patina of original local stonework and oak frame could be juxtaposed with a highly contemporary poured resin floor, newly inserted steel frame windows and rooflights which bring more available daylight into the working rooms. The palette of greys, browns and off whites work to complement and enhance the traditional materials which we frequently find in traditional agricultural buildings.

If you are in the lucky position of owning a redundant old agricultural building or barn of any age then do please contact us to discuss what the possibilities may be for development on your land. Alternatively, if you are considering the purchase of a redundant farm building or collection of buildings we can share our knowledge and design expertise with you.

Mount Farm
Mount Farm

Converting a traditional agricultural building

Converting a traditional agricultural building to domestic use is often a client requirement. However, it is not a straight forward process and really depends on the location of your barn and the planning rules which apply to your geographical area.

Some agricultural buildings can be converted under Permitted Development rights.

Below are the stipulations of The Barn Conversion clause which is part of the Second Schedule of the General Permitted Development Order. This new class authorises change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from use as an agricultural building to a use falling within Class C3 – dwellings. It also authorises building operations ‘reasonably’ necessary to convert the building to residential use.

  • The site must have been used solely for agricultural use.
  • The barn must have existed by 20th March 2013 (so you can’t try building new barns!). New barns can be built and converted into homes but must have previously existed as solely agricultural buildings for at least 10 years.
  • The total floor space of your barn to be converted must be no more than 465m² – if the barn is bigger, you’ll only be able to convert to a maximum of 465m² and then find a suitable agricultural use for anything above that.
  • The 465m² can be divided into five* separate dwellings.
  • If the site is subject to an agricultural tenancy, landowners must have the express consent of their tenants.

However, if your barn is located within a National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is in an area of Landscape Value, is in the Green Belt or is a Listed Building then Permitted Development does not apply. In these cases you will need to apply for planning permission to convert your barn or agricultural building. We have several case studies of similar projects where we have undertaken the conversions of barns and redundant agricultural buildings which exist within a client’s property.

If the barn is listed you will need to make an Listed Building Consent to convert it which may be difficult.

When re-purposing original buildings it is vital that the structure of the building is surveyed. We work with Structural Engineers to ensure that the buildings we propose to convert can withstand the new purpose will work for the future; this report will need to form a part of the planning application package.

Mount Farm
barn conversions - conversion by James Wells Architects

Before

Original barn roof before conversion

After

After barn conversion

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