Friends of the Lake District say changing barns into homes could open door to more second homes

THE Friends of the Lake District have expressed concern about a relaxation in planning rules which  could see redundant barns in the countryside being turned into homes.

It follows concern about the idea - currently being consulted on by the Government - from  the chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Peter Charlesworth, chairman of the YDNPA, said it would cause “irreversible harm” to the beautiful scenery.

The Government is proposing to allow agricultural buildings like barns to be turned into homes without the need for planning permission.

Now the Kendal-based Friends charity says it has concerns about possible urbanisation in open country and the proliferation of second homes.

Jack Ellerby, policy officer, said: “Allowing potentially hundreds of barns in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales to change into market housing would be very bad news for the landscape and local communities.

"Imagine barns in the middle of fields, a long way from the farmstead having new access roads, electricity wires, water and sewerage pipes and the like put in, not sensible if we’re caring for the landscape.

"We also back the locally agreed policy that new houses must be lived in all year round and meet genuine local needs. If planning permission was no longer needed, conversions would likely go for second or holiday homes, and to people moving in for retirement.

"Barn conversions can give local families a chance of staying in the area where they have been brought up or work in, helping keep living, working communities in the national park.”

However, the Country Landowners' Association (CLA), said new homes were desperately needed to keep the countryside alive.

 CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said: “Without new housing, we will lose the young people and services needed to keep rural areas economically viable.

“More retirement homes are also needed in rural areas so older people can pass on farm holdings to the next generation.”

The CLA wants to see new homes for first time buyers and for existing owners looking to downsize.

It wants to see more retirement homes which will enable people to pass on farm holdings to a younger generation - and help clear the tenancy log-jam that is hampering the future of farming - and it wants to see changes to a tax regime which is seen as a fundamental block to new housing supply, particularly in the let sector.

Comments (14)

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3:10pm Tue 28 Jan 14

hogheaven says...

I can understand the Friends of the Lake District reaction to barns being converted, they oppose anything that might alter their cozy existence. But for the Friends charity to quote to say: “Allowing potentially hundreds of barns in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales to change into market housing would be very bad news for the landscape local communities" how could it be?The barns I would imagine are owned by local landowners and farmers so if they only sell them to local people at an AFFORDABLE price and place a local occupancy clause on them, it will enable them to stay in the area.Most of all it would provide affordable housing which is non existent at the moment.
I can understand the Friends of the Lake District reaction to barns being converted, they oppose anything that might alter their cozy existence. But for the Friends charity to quote to say: “Allowing potentially hundreds of barns in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales to change into market housing would be very bad news for the landscape local communities" how could it be?The barns I would imagine are owned by local landowners and farmers so if they only sell them to local people at an AFFORDABLE price and place a local occupancy clause on them, it will enable them to stay in the area.Most of all it would provide affordable housing which is non existent at the moment. hogheaven
  • Score: -2

3:37pm Tue 28 Jan 14

DemBones says...

But the whole point is that these barns would not be *affordable* because the people who own them would understandably want to get the best price for them which would be on the open market selling to second home owners and holiday lets companies, pricing out local people.

This proposal allows any barn to be turned into a house without planning permission; there are therefore no controls over what price the conversion would be sold at and it would be the highest price possible - that's human nature. This is not a solution to local housing problems.

Both National Parks have policy in place to allow landowners and farmers to convert barns and other outbuildings into houses for family, just not into open market housing.
But the whole point is that these barns would not be *affordable* because the people who own them would understandably want to get the best price for them which would be on the open market selling to second home owners and holiday lets companies, pricing out local people. This proposal allows any barn to be turned into a house without planning permission; there are therefore no controls over what price the conversion would be sold at and it would be the highest price possible - that's human nature. This is not a solution to local housing problems. Both National Parks have policy in place to allow landowners and farmers to convert barns and other outbuildings into houses for family, just not into open market housing. DemBones
  • Score: 4

3:57pm Tue 28 Jan 14

hogheaven says...

DemBones wrote:
But the whole point is that these barns would not be *affordable* because the people who own them would understandably want to get the best price for them which would be on the open market selling to second home owners and holiday lets companies, pricing out local people.

This proposal allows any barn to be turned into a house without planning permission; there are therefore no controls over what price the conversion would be sold at and it would be the highest price possible - that's human nature. This is not a solution to local housing problems.

Both National Parks have policy in place to allow landowners and farmers to convert barns and other outbuildings into houses for family, just not into open market housing.
If it is local owners who are selling them or converting them ,then it is up to them to decide a fair price which will enable locals to buy them at an affordable price.With a local occupancy and local worker clause on them they would not be available to sell to 2nd home buyers.Its all a question of whether they would want to do it,after all it is about time we got some return from the tax we pay towards farmers subsidies .
[quote][p][bold]DemBones[/bold] wrote: But the whole point is that these barns would not be *affordable* because the people who own them would understandably want to get the best price for them which would be on the open market selling to second home owners and holiday lets companies, pricing out local people. This proposal allows any barn to be turned into a house without planning permission; there are therefore no controls over what price the conversion would be sold at and it would be the highest price possible - that's human nature. This is not a solution to local housing problems. Both National Parks have policy in place to allow landowners and farmers to convert barns and other outbuildings into houses for family, just not into open market housing.[/p][/quote]If it is local owners who are selling them or converting them ,then it is up to them to decide a fair price which will enable locals to buy them at an affordable price.With a local occupancy and local worker clause on them they would not be available to sell to 2nd home buyers.Its all a question of whether they would want to do it,after all it is about time we got some return from the tax we pay towards farmers subsidies . hogheaven
  • Score: -5

4:31pm Tue 28 Jan 14

shirtbox2003 says...

as stated put local residency clauses on who could buy or rent them and limit the profit to be made to 10% when sold and never remove these clauses.
as stated put local residency clauses on who could buy or rent them and limit the profit to be made to 10% when sold and never remove these clauses. shirtbox2003
  • Score: 0

5:17pm Tue 28 Jan 14

jazzactivist says...

Yet again I find myself agreeing with Hogheaven and shirtbox2003 - what's going on? ;-) I don't understand whose "friend" these Friends of the Lake District are - friends of one another to keep the Lake District exactly as it ever was and property prices high, it seems. I think converting unused barns and outbuildings into housing is a great idea, as it wouldn't impact on the scenery and would preserve the buildings. Many barns scattered across the Lakes, including one at the end of the street I live in, look picturesque in a crumbly kind of way, but is it fair to leave an historic building to molder when they could make lovely homes for local workers? I don't think it is right to just let farmers convert them and charge what they like though, as there would be no incentive to make the housing genuinely affordable if an investor / second homer comes along and offers more. SLDC must legislate so that planning permission will be freely given IF the resulting housing is sold or rented to people living and working locally for a price that reflects the local average wage. Farmers would still make a profit, just not a massive one, and would also be contributing more to their local community. It should be fairly easy to grant planning permission for designs that keep the frontage of the barn intact, but convert the rear and interior into a modern home.
Yet again I find myself agreeing with Hogheaven and shirtbox2003 - what's going on? ;-) I don't understand whose "friend" these Friends of the Lake District are - friends of one another to keep the Lake District exactly as it ever was and property prices high, it seems. I think converting unused barns and outbuildings into housing is a great idea, as it wouldn't impact on the scenery and would preserve the buildings. Many barns scattered across the Lakes, including one at the end of the street I live in, look picturesque in a crumbly kind of way, but is it fair to leave an historic building to molder when they could make lovely homes for local workers? I don't think it is right to just let farmers convert them and charge what they like though, as there would be no incentive to make the housing genuinely affordable if an investor / second homer comes along and offers more. SLDC must legislate so that planning permission will be freely given IF the resulting housing is sold or rented to people living and working locally for a price that reflects the local average wage. Farmers would still make a profit, just not a massive one, and would also be contributing more to their local community. It should be fairly easy to grant planning permission for designs that keep the frontage of the barn intact, but convert the rear and interior into a modern home. jazzactivist
  • Score: -3

7:20pm Tue 28 Jan 14

DemBones says...

shirtbox2003 wrote:
as stated put local residency clauses on who could buy or rent them and limit the profit to be made to 10% when sold and never remove these clauses.
But if you don't need planning permission to convert barns into houses, there is no way to "put local residency clauses" on to them or to "limit the profit". They will be open market housing.

If there is no control over the market which is what this change in the law is proposing, then it is going to be a free for all, and the barn conversions will go to those who can pay the most.
[quote][p][bold]shirtbox2003[/bold] wrote: as stated put local residency clauses on who could buy or rent them and limit the profit to be made to 10% when sold and never remove these clauses.[/p][/quote]But if you don't need planning permission to convert barns into houses, there is no way to "put local residency clauses" on to them or to "limit the profit". They will be open market housing. If there is no control over the market which is what this change in the law is proposing, then it is going to be a free for all, and the barn conversions will go to those who can pay the most. DemBones
  • Score: 0

7:22pm Tue 28 Jan 14

DemBones says...

hogheaven wrote:
DemBones wrote:
But the whole point is that these barns would not be *affordable* because the people who own them would understandably want to get the best price for them which would be on the open market selling to second home owners and holiday lets companies, pricing out local people.

This proposal allows any barn to be turned into a house without planning permission; there are therefore no controls over what price the conversion would be sold at and it would be the highest price possible - that's human nature. This is not a solution to local housing problems.

Both National Parks have policy in place to allow landowners and farmers to convert barns and other outbuildings into houses for family, just not into open market housing.
If it is local owners who are selling them or converting them ,then it is up to them to decide a fair price which will enable locals to buy them at an affordable price.With a local occupancy and local worker clause on them they would not be available to sell to 2nd home buyers.Its all a question of whether they would want to do it,after all it is about time we got some return from the tax we pay towards farmers subsidies .
You're having a laugh if you think that landowners (local or not) won't sell at the highest price they can. It's all about profit maximisation.

Which bit of not needing planning permission don't you understand? If no permission is needed, there is no means of enforcing local affordable housing.
[quote][p][bold]hogheaven[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DemBones[/bold] wrote: But the whole point is that these barns would not be *affordable* because the people who own them would understandably want to get the best price for them which would be on the open market selling to second home owners and holiday lets companies, pricing out local people. This proposal allows any barn to be turned into a house without planning permission; there are therefore no controls over what price the conversion would be sold at and it would be the highest price possible - that's human nature. This is not a solution to local housing problems. Both National Parks have policy in place to allow landowners and farmers to convert barns and other outbuildings into houses for family, just not into open market housing.[/p][/quote]If it is local owners who are selling them or converting them ,then it is up to them to decide a fair price which will enable locals to buy them at an affordable price.With a local occupancy and local worker clause on them they would not be available to sell to 2nd home buyers.Its all a question of whether they would want to do it,after all it is about time we got some return from the tax we pay towards farmers subsidies .[/p][/quote]You're having a laugh if you think that landowners (local or not) won't sell at the highest price they can. It's all about profit maximisation. Which bit of not needing planning permission don't you understand? If no permission is needed, there is no means of enforcing local affordable housing. DemBones
  • Score: 4

7:27pm Tue 28 Jan 14

DemBones says...

jazzactivist wrote:
Yet again I find myself agreeing with Hogheaven and shirtbox2003 - what's going on? ;-) I don't understand whose "friend" these Friends of the Lake District are - friends of one another to keep the Lake District exactly as it ever was and property prices high, it seems. I think converting unused barns and outbuildings into housing is a great idea, as it wouldn't impact on the scenery and would preserve the buildings. Many barns scattered across the Lakes, including one at the end of the street I live in, look picturesque in a crumbly kind of way, but is it fair to leave an historic building to molder when they could make lovely homes for local workers? I don't think it is right to just let farmers convert them and charge what they like though, as there would be no incentive to make the housing genuinely affordable if an investor / second homer comes along and offers more. SLDC must legislate so that planning permission will be freely given IF the resulting housing is sold or rented to people living and working locally for a price that reflects the local average wage. Farmers would still make a profit, just not a massive one, and would also be contributing more to their local community. It should be fairly easy to grant planning permission for designs that keep the frontage of the barn intact, but convert the rear and interior into a modern home.
In the article above it says "The Government is proposing to allow agricultural buildings like barns to be turned into homes without the need for planning permission"

If no planning permission is needed to convert a barn, then SLDC would have absolutely no control at all over ensuring the conversions were affordable housing for local people. This is the point of the article!

If there is no control over who the barn conversions are sold to, they will go at open market prices and be unaffordable for most local people.
[quote][p][bold]jazzactivist[/bold] wrote: Yet again I find myself agreeing with Hogheaven and shirtbox2003 - what's going on? ;-) I don't understand whose "friend" these Friends of the Lake District are - friends of one another to keep the Lake District exactly as it ever was and property prices high, it seems. I think converting unused barns and outbuildings into housing is a great idea, as it wouldn't impact on the scenery and would preserve the buildings. Many barns scattered across the Lakes, including one at the end of the street I live in, look picturesque in a crumbly kind of way, but is it fair to leave an historic building to molder when they could make lovely homes for local workers? I don't think it is right to just let farmers convert them and charge what they like though, as there would be no incentive to make the housing genuinely affordable if an investor / second homer comes along and offers more. SLDC must legislate so that planning permission will be freely given IF the resulting housing is sold or rented to people living and working locally for a price that reflects the local average wage. Farmers would still make a profit, just not a massive one, and would also be contributing more to their local community. It should be fairly easy to grant planning permission for designs that keep the frontage of the barn intact, but convert the rear and interior into a modern home.[/p][/quote]In the article above it says "The Government is proposing to allow agricultural buildings like barns to be turned into homes without the need for planning permission" If no planning permission is needed to convert a barn, then SLDC would have absolutely no control at all over ensuring the conversions were affordable housing for local people. This is the point of the article! If there is no control over who the barn conversions are sold to, they will go at open market prices and be unaffordable for most local people. DemBones
  • Score: 5

6:39am Wed 29 Jan 14

hogheaven says...

The fact that no planning permission is needed does not detract from the position of the barn owners,who would be in a position to sell to local people only,and impose their own conditions. After all they have been given a chance to make a profit on previously unused buildings, so lets see if they will do their bit for the community. How about a comment from a barn owner lets have their views
The fact that no planning permission is needed does not detract from the position of the barn owners,who would be in a position to sell to local people only,and impose their own conditions. After all they have been given a chance to make a profit on previously unused buildings, so lets see if they will do their bit for the community. How about a comment from a barn owner lets have their views hogheaven
  • Score: -5

3:07pm Wed 29 Jan 14

HarryingtheNorth says...

....under used buildings that could be brought back into use, maintained properly and retrofitted for modern agricultural use, but no that wouldn't make money. Why, when another modern timber/steel agri-shed can be thrown up instead with the NFU's help. Yet we hear that farmers are husbands of the land, etc. etc. I don't buy into this barn conversion ploy by the Coalition politicians- esp. 'Farmers mate' Owen Paterson & clueless Nick Boles- its a verbose & tactical vote sweetener. There is every opportunity to convert or change use of brownfield and urban sites (empty town centres esp) with all the utilities to hand (or upgraded). Converting any old building (not built for domestic use) is never easy, practical or affordable-shorter margins even for a time tested developer/builder- therefore there will always be a hustle for top profit from the farmer/estate/ company & upwards. All manner of excuses will be pleaded to a planning committee- in the end the vendor will maximise profit on land to sell to the highest payer and try to get away with minimal work. Add to this the current provocation to reduce green elements/ Carbon Reduction parts of the Building Regulations purportedly to get the country 'building again'. Hey-ho... Maybe in the southeast.
....under used buildings that could be brought back into use, maintained properly and retrofitted for modern agricultural use, but no that wouldn't make money. Why, when another modern timber/steel agri-shed can be thrown up instead with the NFU's help. Yet we hear that farmers are husbands of the land, etc. etc. I don't buy into this barn conversion ploy by the Coalition politicians- esp. 'Farmers mate' Owen Paterson & clueless Nick Boles- its a verbose & tactical vote sweetener. There is every opportunity to convert or change use of brownfield and urban sites (empty town centres esp) with all the utilities to hand (or upgraded). Converting any old building (not built for domestic use) is never easy, practical or affordable-shorter margins even for a time tested developer/builder- therefore there will always be a hustle for top profit from the farmer/estate/ company & upwards. All manner of excuses will be pleaded to a planning committee- in the end the vendor will maximise profit on land to sell to the highest payer and try to get away with minimal work. Add to this the current provocation to reduce green elements/ Carbon Reduction parts of the Building Regulations purportedly to get the country 'building again'. Hey-ho... Maybe in the southeast. HarryingtheNorth
  • Score: 2

4:30pm Wed 29 Jan 14

carlspur says...

very simply, ......'arnt the people that could actually afford these barn conversions the exact people the "Friends" and LDNPA want in the area "cultural and high spending" tourists ????, there should be controls for sure, but I am always amazed at FOLD an LDNPA when they say one thing one week and the next week it contradicts ?!....actually I'm not amazed as they never let me down !!.
very simply, ......'arnt the people that could actually afford these barn conversions the exact people the "Friends" and LDNPA want in the area "cultural and high spending" tourists ????, there should be controls for sure, but I am always amazed at FOLD an LDNPA when they say one thing one week and the next week it contradicts ?!....actually I'm not amazed as they never let me down !!. carlspur
  • Score: 3

5:49pm Wed 29 Jan 14

lakesailor says...

""Imagine barns in the middle of fields, a long way from the farmstead having new access roads, electricity wires, water and sewerage pipes and the like put in, not sensible if we’re caring for the landscape."

That's the point isn't it? It's not YOUR landscape. Someone else owns it, and your concerns are a minority view. Unfortunately you have cosied your way into a position of having some measure of influence with the LDNPA.
""Imagine barns in the middle of fields, a long way from the farmstead having new access roads, electricity wires, water and sewerage pipes and the like put in, not sensible if we’re caring for the landscape." That's the point isn't it? It's not YOUR landscape. Someone else owns it, and your concerns are a minority view. Unfortunately you have cosied your way into a position of having some measure of influence with the LDNPA. lakesailor
  • Score: 4

12:54pm Thu 30 Jan 14

jazzactivist says...

My point, DemBones, is that a no need for planning permission free-for-all shouldn't be allowed, but that converting barns into housing with the proviso that they must be genuinely affordable for people working in the area is a good idea. I don't agree that 'the market' is some sort of out-of-control beast that operates on it's own and regulates itself - it is created by people and should be managed effectively in the best interests of the majority by political authorities. I think the farm buildings scattered around the LD would give people even more to admire if they have been cleverly converted into affordable housing.
My point, DemBones, is that a no need for planning permission free-for-all shouldn't be allowed, but that converting barns into housing with the proviso that they must be genuinely affordable for people working in the area is a good idea. I don't agree that 'the market' is some sort of out-of-control beast that operates on it's own and regulates itself - it is created by people and should be managed effectively in the best interests of the majority by political authorities. I think the farm buildings scattered around the LD would give people even more to admire if they have been cleverly converted into affordable housing. jazzactivist
  • Score: -3

2:49pm Thu 30 Jan 14

DemBones says...

jazzactivist wrote:
My point, DemBones, is that a no need for planning permission free-for-all shouldn't be allowed, but that converting barns into housing with the proviso that they must be genuinely affordable for people working in the area is a good idea. I don't agree that 'the market' is some sort of out-of-control beast that operates on it's own and regulates itself - it is created by people and should be managed effectively in the best interests of the majority by political authorities. I think the farm buildings scattered around the LD would give people even more to admire if they have been cleverly converted into affordable housing.
Jazzactivist: You say "My point...is that a no need for planning permission free-for-all shouldn't be allowed".

If there is no planning control, who then is going to stop the "Free-for-all" from happening? It can't be the council as they will no longer have any legal means to prevent a free-for-all.

There will be no control over barn conversions because they will no longer come under the planning system. There is absolutely no legal way that the local authority can ensure that barns converted into houses will become local affordable housing. No controls means an open housing market without local authority or other controls on what sort of housing comes forward.

I think converting agricultural buildings into affordable housing for local people who work in the area is a good idea, but these changes to planning law will not enable this to happen because all newly converted barns will become open market property under this law change.
[quote][p][bold]jazzactivist[/bold] wrote: My point, DemBones, is that a no need for planning permission free-for-all shouldn't be allowed, but that converting barns into housing with the proviso that they must be genuinely affordable for people working in the area is a good idea. I don't agree that 'the market' is some sort of out-of-control beast that operates on it's own and regulates itself - it is created by people and should be managed effectively in the best interests of the majority by political authorities. I think the farm buildings scattered around the LD would give people even more to admire if they have been cleverly converted into affordable housing.[/p][/quote]Jazzactivist: You say "My point...is that a no need for planning permission free-for-all shouldn't be allowed". If there is no planning control, who then is going to stop the "Free-for-all" from happening? It can't be the council as they will no longer have any legal means to prevent a free-for-all. There will be no control over barn conversions because they will no longer come under the planning system. There is absolutely no legal way that the local authority can ensure that barns converted into houses will become local affordable housing. No controls means an open housing market without local authority or other controls on what sort of housing comes forward. I think converting agricultural buildings into affordable housing for local people who work in the area is a good idea, but these changes to planning law will not enable this to happen because all newly converted barns will become open market property under this law change. DemBones
  • Score: 3

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