Oatley Vineyard: The Next Generation(s)

A Modern Barn Conversion

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Written by Ned, and posted in the:  Barn ConversionFamilyStory Category

A modern barn conversion, what do we need?

Barn? Yes!

Design? Yes!

Planning Permission? Yes yes yes!

Wine? Of Course!

It might not look like it but in the not too distant future (we hope) this will be our home.  It isn’t your classic Somerset red stone barn-conversion-barn, but it will be a sleek, modern, sustainable home to juxtapose the 300+ year old farm house where Granny and Grandad Awty live.

Oatley Barn before conversion

Oatley Barn before conversion

The biggest challenge in any conversion is getting planning permission.  There are different approaches and we decided on the Class-Q permitted development route as this was thought to be the lowest risk and therefore quickest.  In the same way that within certain conditions you don’t need planning permission to build a ground floor extension, with a Class-Q permission we are permitted to turn the barn into a dwelling without needing full planning permission.

It does mean that we are limited to the alterations we can make to the building (e.g. you can’t make it bigger), and it needs to “maintain the original character” so no taking out walls or putting in skylights.  However, in December we received permission to build our modified plans by architects-in-family Nora and Fred, so we WILL have a new roof and south facing terrace.

Local authorities like to make examples out of people who ignore the regulations – Bellway Homes were recently fined £600k for destroying a bat roost! – so we are doing things properly and designing in a positive ecological impact.  One of our main motivations for the move is to ensure the twins grow up respecting nature and the planet and there is no better way than growing up surrounded by it.

Once again I would like to shout out to our planning advisor Donna, without who we would still be going around in circles with the local authorities, or worse.  Also Seasons Ecology, who have been helping with our ecology surveys, plans and our hot-off-the-press bat licence that enables us to proceed legally.

Hedgehogs are one of my favourite animals, sadly there are none around as the numerous local badgers eat them all (yes, really!).

YouTube video

Now, how do you dispose of an asbestos roof?