Planning Committee Approval for Barn Conversions in the Green Belt

IPS is pleased to have secured full planning permission for the conversion of redundant barns in Crowhurst, Tandridge to form 2 new dwellings. The application was reported to the Tandridge District Planning Committee who approved the application in line with the officers’ recommendation

IPS co-ordinated the project team, carefully considering the constraints and opportunities of the site. The Applicant was preparing to rationalise their existing farming business as operations moved from a mixed farming to a primarily arable operation. This includes the concentration of operations and storage of crops at the larger and more modern farm holdings within the Applicant’s ownership. The buildings at the application site had not been used as part of the Applicant’s principal farming operations for some time.

Image courtesy of Levitate

The barns are of some considerable age and are clad with dangerous material which includes asbestos.  A structural review of the barns informed the design proposals and removing three sheds which were not considered to be as suitable for the residential conversions. As such, the proposal would re-use potentially redundant or disused buildings and the reduction in the built form within the site would enhance its immediate setting. The loss of nearly 50% volume across the site and two prominent structures would improve the openness of the Green Belt and enhance the immediate setting. This would result in a significant improvement to the site and in particular the ‘openness’ of the Green Belt.

The Council and the Applicant did not consider that the site would be unsustainably located, even though there would be reliance upon the use of a private motor vehicle. This reliance would not result in isolation as defined by Paragraph 79 of the NPPF 2019 and, as such, it was not considered the application could substantiate a refusal of planning permission on this matter alone as it is not considered to be so isolated to warrant the refusal of permission in relation to the Development Plan Policies.

Image courtesy of Levitate

National and local planning policy regards development in the Green Belt as inappropriate, unless very special circumstances can be clearly demonstrated. Exceptions, as stated in paragraph 134 e) and paras 146 d) of the NPPF, include recycling of derelict and the re-use of buildings provided that the buildings are of permanent and substantial construction. Both of these requirements were satisfied by the proposals and the proposals were not considered to constitute inappropriate development within the Green Belt.

The high quality of the design of the proposals and the proportions and detailing of the cladding are appropriate to reflect the agricultural setting and former use of the buildings. A number of sustainability measures are included such as photovoltaic panels, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery, high levels of insulation, rainwater collection and use and heart pumps for heating and hot water. The proposals have also been designed to take advantage of good passive environmental design to create a sustainable environmentally conscious dwelling.

IPS is pleased that the case officer considered that all matters and comments had been addressed in recommending that the application be approved by the Planning Committee. The proposals will deliver a high-quality scheme, reusing currently redundant buildings and reducing the openness of the Green Belt.