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Winkhill farm buildings could be converted into homes

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: April 13, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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PLANS have been tabled to change the use of three farm barns into homes.

A planning application has put forward for the development at Redmorelea Farm in 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, HLW Developments Ltd, by planning consultant Rob Duncan, said the existing farmhouse was in poor state of repair, having lain vacant for a considerable period of time, and that the agricultural buildings surrounding it had similarly been left vacant following the passing of the previous tenant.

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

Mr Duncan said: "The conversion of the buildings to residential use represents a financially viable means of safeguarding these buildings in the long term as to say commercial, tourism or agricultural use, which are unlikely to be financially viable given the extent of refurbishment required.

"The premises have been marketed to let by local agent 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 agents 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."

The planning application was debated at last week's monthly meeting of Waterhouses Parish Council, where concerns were raised about the possible loss of the farm and the formation of a mini-estate.

Councillor Eddie Simpson said : "This is a nice little farm and it would be a tragedy if it was lost.

"No way could it be operated as a farm with three dwellings in the yard.

"If a young person wanted to get into farming this is ideal place to get on the ladder. If this is approved the land will just get rented out."

Councillor Andrew Carr said it was not a planning reason for members to say that they wanted it to remain as a farm

He said: "This could be a good use and the farmhouse is to remain."

Councillor John Harvey said: "It could still be a viable farming unit as the farmhouse is staying. Traffic-wise the access is good and it will not affect the village."

Councillor John Goldstraw said: "The farmhouse is not included in the planning application put forward so the premises could still be used as a farm."

Parish councillors agreed not to raise any objection to the district council's planning authority, but to state they regretted the loss of the potential use of the farm.

Barn one would consist of a lounge, kitchen/diner, bedroom and en-suite on ground floor with two additional bedrooms, both en-suite, on the first floor.

Barn two would comprise of lounge, kitchen/diner on the ground floor and two bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor.

Barn three, which is a long single-storey building, would have an open plan lounge, dining room and kitchen, with two bedrooms, both en-suite.

A further small building would be converted into a home office for the occupiers of barn one.

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