20 Jul Barn Conversion Guidance from Historic England
Traditional farm buildings are among the most ubiquitous of historic building types in the countryside. They are not only fundamental to its sense of place and local distinctiveness, but also represent a major economic asset in terms of their capacity to accommodate new uses. The restructuring of farming and other economic and demographic changes in the countryside provide both threats and opportunities in terms of retaining the historic interest in this building stock and its contribution to the wider landscape.
Historic farmsteads and their buildings make a fundamental contribution to the richly varied character of the English countryside. They illustrate the long history of farming and settlement in the landscape and exemplify the crafts and skills associated with local building materials and techniques.
The best option for retaining the overall historic and landscape integrity of traditional farming landscapes is, wherever possible, to keep buildings in active agricultural use of related low-key usage. Increasingly however, this is not possible. Where a local authority is satisfied that a traditional farm building no longer has a viable mainstream or low-key agricultural use, it may be prepared to grant permission for conversion to a new use.
The purpose of the guidance provided by Historic England is to act as an aid to understanding traditional farm buildings to help inform change, as well as to provide practical technical and design advice so that farm buildings capable of conversion can be repaired and adapted for new uses in a sensitive way, while preserving their character, significance and landscape setting.