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Farm houses refused at Winkhill

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: May 31, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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Plans to covert three farm barns into homes have been refused.

A planning application was submitted by HLW Developments Ltd for Redmorelea Farm, Winkhill.

The farmhouse is Grade II-listed and sits in front of the former agricultural buildings at the southern end of the site.

A design and access statement, submitted on behalf of the applicant by Rob Duncan planning consultant, said the existing farmhouse was in poor state of repair, having lain vacant for a considerable period of time.

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The agricultural buildings surrounding it had similarly been left vacant following the death of the previous tenant.

It is stated that these had also fallen into disrepair and were considered to be in need of refurbishment.

A refusal notice just issued by the district council said: "The proposed conversion works would harm the setting of the listed buildings and the historic interest, character and appearance of the listed barns and wider landscape context.

"The proposal would also conflict with the objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework to conserve heritage assets in a manner appropriate to their significance and to put them to viable uses consistent with their conservation and the similar aims of Policies of the Staffordshire Moorlands Core Strategy Development Plan Document.

"It is essential that the presence or otherwise of protected species and the extent to which they may be affected by a proposal is established before planning permission is granted.

"It is considered that insufficient information has been provided to assess the potential harm to bats – a European protected species – concerning proposed mitigation measures."

However, Mr Duncan had stated in his report that the conversion of the buildings to residential use represented a financially viable means of safeguarding the buildings in the long term as to commercial, tourism or agricultural use, which are unlikely to be financially viable given the extent of refurbishment required.

He said: "The premises have been marketed to let by local agents Bury & Hilton since May 2008. No terms or rental price were identified in order to encourage maximum interest in the buildings and to provide full flexibility to prospective occupiers.

"The market exercise has now been underway just under six years and in that time no form interest or offers have been received.

"The property agent considers the location of the barns and their structural condition do not lend themselves to a commercial buyer and that there is limited demand for this type of property."

Wayerhouses Parish Council agreed not to raise any objection to the district council's planning authority, but stated it regretted the loss of the potential use of the farm.

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