It is a problem that many farmers face. A traditional farmstead located on the edge of a village, traditional buildings which are no longer suited to current agricultural practices, and a desire to invest in new buildings to enable the farming business to adapt and respond to modern farming needs. That was the situation facing John Gent who operates a mixed livestock and arable enterprise from his 900 acre farm on the outskirts of Stoke Doyle, near Oundle. The family farmstead at How Hill Farm sat cheek by jowl with the edge of the village of Stoke Doyle and was noted for an impressive range of traditional stone built farm buildings, typical of this part of East Northamptonshire. Alongside, a range of utilitarian modern farm buildings, which fulfilled the current needs of the farm business, but were in need of a plan for their future use and development.
John and his family had long considered what to do with the traditional buildings, recognising their intrinsic value as heritage assets, and wishing to ensure that they could be put to a viable alternative use, which would allow the farm business to continue move positively into the future.
Bletsoes Planning and Development Team were able to assist John in producing a plan for the redevelopment of How Hill Farm, and having secured planning permission for the site, Bletsoes dealt with the sale of this attractive development site. We then assisted John in obtaining planning permission for a new range of modern replacement farm buildings at his Oundle Lodge site. The planning process for the redevelopment of the traditional buildings, as well as the relocation of the farmyard, was difficult and torturous at times. However, by maintaining a constant dialogue with the Planning Authority, Bletsoes were able to convince the planners of the merits of the redevelopment, which incorporated not only the conversion of the traditional buildings into dwellings, but also the creation of an additional new built dwelling, on the grounds that this was required to enable John to fully fund the development of a new replacement farmstead. Plans were then developed for the new range of buildings at Oundle Lodge, which incorporate an impressive and innovative Round House cattle building, as well as new grain store and livestock housing and ancillary buildings. Bletsoes were again, able to guide John through the planning process, and despite the complications of having to carry out an extensive archaeological investigation of the site, which ironically found evidence of Iron Age Round House agricultural development, John was able to complete his planned redevelopment, and now has a farmstead which will stand him and his family in good stead for the future. John comments that “The team at Bletsoes were able to guide us through every step of the planning process and helped to make our new farmyard vision a reality. I am proud that the conversion of the traditional farm buildings to residential properties has both preserved these historic buildings and brought new families into the village.”
Bletsoes Planning and Development Team have a wealth of experience in advising clients like John, and despite the challenges that can often arise when dealing with the planning process, we are able to show commitment and tenacity in securing client’s objectives. Our full range of services include; Planning Promotion, Planning Applications, Development Land Sales, Developer Agreements, and general Planning and Development Advice concerning farm diversification or modernisation. For further details, please contact one of the Planning and Development Team.