J & J Design have obtained Planning Permission for the change of use of a Courtyard Barn complex for B1 Business Use near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.

The Courtyard is a traditional south facing U-shaped barn complex of mainly single storey buildings for traditional mixed-farming uses, including dairy farming which is no longer undertaken at the farm. The Courtyard barn complex is now redundant for agricultural purposes due to the buildings being limited both in depth and in height and unsuited to accommodate the current larger agricultural machinery, which is required to maintain efficiency of an arable farm in the current agricultural climate. The nearby Farmhouse is an 18th Century Grade II Listed Building at the south of the courtyard and separated from the Courtyard buildings by the farm track.

The proposal involves the material change of use of the redundant farm buildings to B1 business use, together with building operations required to facilitate the proposed use. The proposals also  include new provision of parking for private cars and an improved farm access together with provision for a passing place. The proposed parking area will be enclosed with a new hedge and tree planting to minimise any visual intrusion.

The Council concluded that the proposal was acceptable in principle in accordance with local policies and chapter 6 of the NPPF which states that in order to support a prosperous rural economy planning policies and decisions should allow the sustainable growth and expansion of all types of business in rural areas through the conversion of existing buildings and the development and diversification of agricultural and rural land based business.

It was also concluded that the proposed development would not result in any harmful impact on the character or appearance of the area or landscape and it was considered that the public benefits of the proposal outweigh the less than substantial harm to the heritage assets.

J & J Design were assisted by JRT Architectural Design Ltd (Architectural Drawings), Kempston Surveys Ltd (Topographical Survey), Green Environmental Consultants (Preliminary Ecological Appraisal), MTC Engineering (Cambridge) Ltd (Drainage Strategy & Transport Assessment), Albion Archaeology (Archaeological Assessment), EPS (Phase I Geo-Environmental Desk Study) and MAS Environmental (Noise Impact Assessment) in the preparation of the technical reports in support of this application.