Barn Conversions : Retiring to the Milking Shed

What are the options available for defunct barns and outbuildings?

A typical farm will consist of a farmhouse, either ancient or a newer replacement, an adjacent run down collection of traditional barns and nearby a brace of modern metal-framed structures housing modern farming equipment.

When I undertake site appraisals for the adaptive reuse of agricultural buildings I come across three main briefs:

  • Individual stand alone homes. These may be for the purpose of selling on or for extended family to inhabit creating a multi-family site.
  • Downsized retirement dwellings. Downsizing is often a move from the main farmhouse to a smaller single storey outbuilding, vacating the larger farmhouse for use by a different generation of the family or as an asset to be capitalised.
  • Holiday lets situated around a courtyard. They are usually multi-unit accommodation whereby planning permission is particularly dependent on geography.


Often traditional barns have suffered from neglect but are usually not beyond repair. This is especially the case with masonry structures, which are a little less prone to structural decay. Many structural issues evident in barns stem from either design issues with the original structure itself or from ad-hoc alterations and inappropriate repairs. More recently there has been an increase in the number of metal-framed structures being converted to dwellings.

Under Part Q of the General Permitted Development Order, the Prior Approval route allows certain conversions to be exempt from the requirement for obtaining Planning Permission.

I can assist you in achieving your aims, whichever option you are considering. If you wish to discuss a potential project, feel free to get in touch.