Barns and farm buildings
Any application for conversion needs to be fully justified. First of all the building, or that part to be converted, should be shown to be redundant. Another factor is whether it is near or within a settlement or out in the fields where changes to a building can affect the wider landscapes.
Farm buildings in Calderdale are typically solid, simple buildings, built from local stone, with stone slate roofs. In order to retain their architectural quality it is important that, if a new use has to be found, they still continue to look like farm buildings in order to retain links between their past and the future. Conversion of farm buildings is therefore most acceptable where the new use respects the original envelope and interior volume of the building. Often it is only by being prepared to accept less conventional accommodation layouts that farm buildings can be converted without changing their character. New schemes should also aim to meet practical requirements of drainage, heating and lighting in the most sympathetic way.
Any scheme should be designed taking into account the existing building in its original form, and the position and size of existing openings should be considered when determining the accommodation to be provided within the building.
A use which respects the open internal spaces is generally preferable to one which requires the formation of many small rooms out of the larger spaces. In addition, retention of the original pattern of openings assists in retaining evidence of the building's past. The retention of the main barn doors in some form will also help to indicate the former use of the building; too often they are lost.
It is important that farm buildings are preserved in their original form on the outside without alien additions or alterations. Changes to the roof slope, eaves line and the addition of porches and conservatories are not acceptable as they would compromise the original form of the building and lead to a loss of original character.
Where the redundant barn is attached to a house, the contrast between the original residential and agricultural parts of the building should be maintained and the original form and split of the building should remain obvious.
English Heritage have published a guide to good practice:
- The original form and materials should be kept or restored.
- Slates should not be turned.
- New roof lights should be avoided.
- Dormer windows are inappropriate.
- Roof mounted solar panels are inappropriate.
- New gutters and downpipes should be discreet and mounted on stirrup brackets, not fascia boards.
- Only traditional materials should be used - metal and wood are acceptable.
- Pipes should be sited as inconspicuously as possible on less prominent elevations.
- Soil pipes and other plumbing should be sited internally wherever possible.
- Choose new heating systems to minimize the impact on the building.
- Keep gas flues as small as possible.
- New chimneys should be avoided.
- Where chimneys are shown to be necessary, they should either be small metal vent pipes finished in black or dark grey, or coursed stone to match the existing stonework.
- Chimneys should be sited on an inconspicuous side of the roof. They should avoid breaking through the ridge.
- Where there is a house attached, chimneys should be at the domestic end of the barn.
Walls and openings
- Rebuilding should be avoided wherever possible and as much of the original building as possible should be retained.
- Where limited rebuilding is unavoidable, existing materials should be re-used as far as possible. Any new stone should match in colour, coursing and texture.
- Any new pointing should be flush or slightly recessed and be of a colour and hardness appropriate to the original stone work. Strap pointing is not acceptable.
- The cart opening should remain unaltered and either fitted with full height close-boarded doors opening in the original way or windows set in as far as possible. This may be in the form of a glazed lobby behind the doors.
- Original door openings should remain unaltered, preferably fitted with a close-boarded door. If light is needed, glazing can be introduced into the top half of the door or by glazing the full opening.
- Partial or total removal of original stone lintels and jambs is unacceptable, particularly where buildings are listed.
- Original window openings should be kept. It may be appropriate to re-open walled-up openings.
- New openings should be a last resort and avoided wherever possible.
- Walling up original openings is not appropriate.
- Repositioning or extending original openings is not appropriate.
- Ventilation openings, owl holes and dovecotes should be kept in their original position. They can be glazed or as a last resort stoned up, both with a deep reveal.
- Where new openings - windows or doors - are unavoidable, they should be of a size, proportion, materials, position and detailing which is in keeping with the character of the particular barn.
- Any heads, sills or jambs should be of natural stone and all glazing should be set back from the face of the building. Glazing patterns should reflect the original detailing where known, or be a simple design. Plastic doors and windows are generally inappropriate and are unacceptable in listed buildings.
- Special features such as Venetian or shaped windows should be retained in their original position. They should not be introduced or replicated in other parts of the building where they are not original features.
- Structural timberwork including roof trusses should be retained in its original form and should be preserved as completely as possible.
- Roof trusses should remain open to view wherever possible.
- Any repairs and timber treatment should be done in situ.
- The timber used for repair should be of the same type as in the original building.
- Where it is desirable to leave roof members exposed, careful consideration needs to be given to the placing of thermal insulation and methods of preventing interstitial condensation.
- Missing members should be replaced, but any split or broken timbers should be repaired if possible. This may be done by scarfing in new matching timber or by metal strapping.
- Where possible, partitions and stalls should be retained in their original form and position.
- All meter boxes should be sited internally in an inconspicuous position.
- All T.V. aerials should be located internally.
- All satellite dishes are unacceptable.
- The provision of adequate water supplies and drainage should not detract from the setting and character of the building.
It is generally appropriate to retain part of the building as a full height space: this will be a specific requirement when listed buildings are converted.
Is generally unacceptable, particularly where buildings are in the countryside or in a group with other uncleaned buildings. Where the building is listed, listed building consent will usually be required.
- The setting of the building should be conserved.
- Farmyards should not be subdivided by walls or fences.
- The creation of garden areas should not adversely affect the visual setting of the building.
- Where new boundaries need to be marked this should be done with traditional drystone walls.
- Private areas such as bin stores, fuel stores, drying areas, septic tanks and car parking should be sited as inconspicuously as possible and screened where necessary and appropriate, using appropriate materials / planting.
- No new overhead wires should be introduced.
- Details of gardens / sitting out areas are needed when they affect the setting of a listed building.
Remember, when considering a new use for an agricultural building, that each building is different, each building will have its own design solution and each case will be looked at on its merits.
Applications for residential use must show how adequate garaging can be achieved. Wherever possible existing buildings should be used.