Rural Solutions recently achieved planning permission and listed building consent at a complex site, regarding the diversification of a farm to provide an events venue and guest accommodation. This comprised of the demolition of existing modern buildings within the farm complex, change of use of existing buildings from agricultural uses to an events venue, guest accommodation and alterations to listed and non-listed buildings.

The approved scheme is the start of the necessary diversification of an arable farm and finding new sustainable uses for existing heritage assets (barns, house and associated buildings).

The existing site comprises of a complex range of listed buildings (Grade II* and Grade II), in the setting of a Grade I listed church. The site part of the village of Sandon. Key consultees on the pre-application process were North Hertfordshire District, Historic England and Natural England.

The design of the scheme required great care in seeking to ensure the special qualities of the existing heritage assets are conserved whilst allowing for the inclusion of modern services such as a kitchen, dining area and events space. A careful balance of retention and replacement of existing modern buildings was required and a layout to secure the operations of the site as a productive farm.

An economic assessment was submitted with the application qualifying the extensive employment and service benefits arising for the local community and wider area.

The application scheme attracted significant local opposition on matters of claimed adverse noise disturbance and severe impacts on the local road network. Rural Solutions however, provided robust evidence in seeking to overcome potential concerns and full support for the scheme was attained from the Planning Officers, the Environmental Health Officer and the County Highways Officer.

The application was approved unanimously at Planning Committee, where specific reference was made to the need to find a sustainable use for the heritage assets, the need to support necessary diversification of the farm operations and the economic benefits arising from the scheme.

Rural Solutions are currently in the process of discharging planning conditions with a view to a start being made in 2019.


Imagery courtesy of Haysom Ward Miller Architects