Can We Rebuild Historic Outbuildings?

2 February 2022
by Luke Purkis

We are looking to buy a regency property built in around 1840, which was once used as a blacksmiths. It comes with a single-storey barn attached to the rear, forming an L shape at the back of the property. The back wall of this forms the border between the neighbour.

The previous owner lived in the property for over 70 years, and has told us that the single-storey barn was once a two-story structure, but he took the upper level down as the roof was unsafe, and fitted a flat roof instead.

So the question is, if the barn was once a two-story build on the deeds prior to 1947, would we need planning permission to rebuild that structure? Or would it fall within permitted development as we are simply rebuilding the property as per the original layout?

3 Answers

  1. Anamika Talwaria says:

    Hi Luke,

    Thanks for your question. I have passed this on to our expert team and will aim to get an answer over to you ASAP.

    Anamika Talwaria (Build It features editor)

  2. Luke Purkis says:

    Hi Anamika,

    Thank you for looking into an answer. We have also asked the local council but they will not advise until we have purchased the property, obviously we would prefer to know what is possible before that point!

  3. Julia Riddle says:

    Hi Luke,

    In the first instance you should check that the building is not statutorily listed or subject of any local listing or heritage interest. The description of the age and use suggests that it might be deemed of some heritage value, which would impact the approach and potentially what is possible in terms of development. Even if the barn isn’t listed, if the house itself is listed, then the barn will be listed by association given the proximity described.

    It is not clear whether the previous works to the barn were subject to planning or other permissions, and you have not stated when they were undertaken, but assuming this was more than 10 years ago, they would be deemed lawful in any circumstances.

    The building of an additional storey on the barn should however be assumed to require planning permission. Having had a second storey originally, this would be likely to be a proposal which would be acceptable in planning terms as it would be reinstating something which was historically acceptable, provided nothing else has changed in terms of the planning context.

    It should be checked whether, based on the heritage aspect set, it might also need any other permission, such as Listed Building consent in addition to planning permission.

    Julia Riddle (Build It Planning Expert)

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