Planning approved for an architect designed Dutch barn conversion in the Cotswolds

Dutch Barn Conversion Cotswolds

The Plainview team have extensive experience in negotiating planning permissions for a variety of rural development schemes across England. Most recently we were instructed to provide planning support on the conversion of a redundant Dutch barn to ancillary residential use in the Cotswolds AONB.

Rural developments and conversions

In March 2018 government announcements confirmed an intention to support sustainable development, promote diversification and increase opportunities in rural areas. Part of the proposals included the provision of more options to convert agricultural buildings into family homes.

Whilst there is on paper support for certain types of rural development and the re-use of redundant buildings for residential use, it is important to note that there are strict guidelines, caveats and local policy considerations which carefully monitor and manage these types of rural development. These include site context, the condition of the barn, the planning history on site, the proposed use and the extent and nature of any alterations which may be required.

Planning consultants and architects working collaboratively

Due to the complications of this particular site, we were recommended to assist by the architects designing the scheme, Millar Howard Workshop.

We have had the pleasure of working with lots of different architectural practices over the years and really enjoy adding value to their designs and proposals by carefully presenting the planning arguments which underpin and support the design and development process.

The team at Millar Howard Workshop specialise in producing contemporary architecture that responds superbly to its surroundings. Their scheme for the conversion of the Dutch barn responded sensitively to the needs of the client whilst also adhering and responding to the beautiful Cotswold setting.

Once we had reviewed the plans and got a full grasp of the design aspirations of our client, we set about preparing a comprehensive and robust planning strategy to give the project and its quality design, the best chance of planning success.

Enabling a productive pre-application experience – communication is key

Our team had a clear understanding of the policy issues that would need to be addressed at an early stage of the project.

We set about preparing a thorough pre-application submission which anticipated any potential concerns and set a programme of clear proactive engagement.  Furthermore, we prepared a number of pertinent planning questions for the pre-application meeting which helped to secure a positive and constructive response from the Cotswold District Council planning team.

Putting our knowledge of the planning process to effective use

Once we had secured an informed pre-application response, we set about preparing a robust planning statement and oversaw the preparation of the application, ensuring for example that the architect’s drawings were correctly annotated to present the proposal in the most favourable way, and securing amendments to the structural engineer’s report to ensure accuracy within their report and consistency with the architects drawings which responded to the feedback.

It was not only our understanding of the particulars of this type of rural development application but also our ability to identify with the position of the local authority, which meant that we were able to anticipate the council’s need for certain technical reports to support the application. It also meant that we were able to successfully question their request for further technical reports, identifying that in this case for example, a landscape assessment was not necessary. In doing so, we saved our client time and helped to ensure that the application was validated swiftly, without the need for any further information to be submitted.

During the determination period we maintained proactive lines of communication with the case officer, responding to queries and liaising effectively with the project team to ensure that there was no delay in deciding the application.

We are so pleased for our client that we were able to secure them a planning approval for the barn conversion without any delay, and it will be exciting to see another stunning Millar Howard design realised.

About us

If you would like to speak to a member of our team about turning a redundant agricultural building into a barn conversion for residential purposes or for maximising the value of your site, then please do get in touch. You can call us on 01242 501003 or drop us an email at and we can see how we can best assist.

IMAGE SOURCE: Millar Howard Workshop 2017