To receive a report of the site inspection held on 13 August 2001

ITEM 5(b)
ITEM 5(b)
Cllr E T Mitchell (Chairman)
Cllr R W Hallett
Cllr V A Harvey
Cllr I P Steer
Cllr A R Vale
Conversion of two storey barn to form dwelling – Willings Farm, Bigbury, Kingsbridge
Also in Attendance:
Cllr B E Carson (Local Member)
Mr Davies (Bigbury Parish Councillor)
The Area Planning Officer reminded the Group that the proposal to convert a two storey barn
into a dwelling concerned a site located on rising land approximately 100 metres to the south
of residential properties. He explained that an orchard, agricultural land and a paddock lay in
between. It was also noted that the barn had a stone base, whilst its timber framed second
storey was clad with corrugated tin, a material also used for the roof.
The Area Planning Officer outlined the main issues which had led to officers recommending
refusal of this application. Particular reference was made to the perceived detrimental visual
impact upon the character and appearance of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural
Beauty and concerns that the access lane was too narrow to safely accommodate any
additional traffic generated by this development. The need to consider the Council’s Barn
Conversion Policy, (SHDC4), was also emphasised.
The group viewed the plans for the development. Particular attention was drawn to the
retention of existing openings and the stone frontage at ground level and the re-cladding of
the second storey with traditional stained timber. The inclusion of openings allowing sunlight
into bedroom accommodation on the west side was also highlighted. In addition, it was
emphasised that the current elevation was not being extended.
The Group then viewed the site from the side furthest from the road. It was noted that a
mixture of glazing and stained timber cladding would significantly transform this side of the
The Area Planning Officer reported on the Agent’s letter. Particular reference was made to
support of the proposal in terms of the building being structurally sound, the lack of evidence
concerning the occupation by protected bats or barn owls, its unsuitability for modern
agricultural purposes because of its internal heights and it being sympathetic to its rural
The Parish Council representative reported that it had not objected to the proposal. However,
some reservations had been expressed about the parking facilities affording adequate visibility
of speeding traffic travelling through the adjacent lane.
The Area Planning Officer reported that a late letter of representation had been received
which considered the proposal to be sympathetic to the character of the area. However, it was
noted that the letter had suggested the re-siting of speed restriction signs in the adjacent lane
further away from the site, in order to reduce the risk of an accident involving traffic leaving
the dwelling.
A Member expressed concern that as the site occupied the lower end of a very narrow, steep,
minor access road, visibility of passing traffic from the car parking space was likely to be
severely restricted.
The County Highways Engineer reported that his officers had raised objections to the
proposal over concerns about increased volumes in traffic on the narrow access road and
restricted visibility of passing traffic in both directions. He advised that if approval were
granted, the possibility of revising existing speed restrictions in the access lane would be
The Parish Council representative echoed concerns about inadequate visibility of passing
traffic, particularly in terms of access from the existing gate at the far end of this site, which
was further restricted by hedgerow. However, he emphasised that the Parish Council would
not wish to see the barn fall into disrepair, through refusal of this proposal.
The Local Member echoed the Parish Council’s concerns about the building falling into
disrepair if approval were not granted. He also reported that the applicants were prepared to
clad the second storey with stone, rather than timber, and that the orchard would be retained.
A Member reminded the Group that a development boundary had yet to be identified for
Bigbury. He was also of the opinion that this building was not in a prominent location.
The Group then viewed the site from the road in order to further assess the suitability of the
proposed car parking arrangements. The Area Planning Officer advised that the existing
stone wall and hard standing car parking space would be retained. The Group also agreed that
it would be undesirable to re-site car-parking provision at the front of the barn, particularly as
that area often served as a passing bay for traffic using the access lane.
That in respect of application number 05/799/01/F, planning permission be refused on
the grounds that:1.
The proposed conversion, associated works and residential use would be
damaging to the building’s setting within the local rural landscape and would cause harm
to the character and appearance of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
and Coastal Preservation Area. Such development would conflict with the objectives of
Government Planning Guidance and Development Plan Policies C2, C4, C7, H4 and
By reason of its width and lack of pedestrian facilities the existing road is
unsuitable to accommodate the additional traffic likely to be generated by the
development and would create the need for additional travel by private vehicles where
there is no alternative. Such development would conflict with the objectives of
Government Planning Guidance and Development Plan Policy T19.
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