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Unanimous planning granted for rural change in Cambridgeshire

National property consultancy Carter Jonas has secured planning and listed building consent on behalf of a private landowner for the conversion of a range of redundant farm buildings into seven houses.

One of the main reasons planning consent was granted was due to the schemes positive approach to heritage preservation and design. A manor house, of which the garden adjoins the site – which lies within the Horningsea Conservation Area and is adjacent to the Green Belt and open countryside – is Grade II listed and therefore the farm buildings are ‘curtilage listed’, meaning Class Q permitted development rights (for change of use from agricultural to residential) did not apply.

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Furthermore, under Policy Section 11 of the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan, residential development, even in the form of redevelopment, in Horningsea is normally restricted to two units.

What’s more, news of this new development has come just as planning red tape has been slashed for farmers. New planning rules have been implemented to make it easier to convert unused farm buildings into new homes, farm shops and gyms.

However, not everyone has been in favour of the new plans. The planning application was recommended for refusal by the council’s planning officers although the planning committee were supportive of the scheme and the Parish council lent it’s support.

The local ward councillor requested that the applications should be determined at planning committee rather than delegated to officers. As a result, and following substantial support from local residents and neighbours, the recommendation for refusal was overturned and the committee voted unanimously in favour of the project.

Colin Brown, head of planning & development at Carter Jonas in Cambridge said: ‘It is rare for committee members to overturn officers’ clear recommendations for refusal. So when it does occur, it is a real triumph.

‘With a local and national housing crisis worsening by the day, good quality conversions such as that proposed here should not be passed by lightly. While this example highlighted contradictions in local planning policies, I very much hope that planning officers will have regard to it in securing the optimal use of redundant agricultural buildings in the future.’

Tim Jones, head of rural at Carter Jonas, added: ‘Our client is delighted that the planning committee of South Cambridgeshire District Council took the trouble to consider the planning application in detail and understand its real benefit.

‘The farm buildings are no longer fit for their original purpose, and we are all delighted that they can now be converted to high quality homes for people to enjoy.’

Construction is due to commence on site by the end of the year and the scheme is anticipated to complete within 12 months.

Image: Carter Jonas 

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Emily Whitehouse
Writer and journalist for Newstart Magazine, Social Care Today and Air Quality News.

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