There is an urgent need, however, to develop frameworks for the understanding and management of historic farmsteads at a smaller scale. We have thought about how this can be done most cheaply and effectively, and have decided to work within the character areas for the English countryside which resulted from a multi-disciplinary co-operation of disciplines (including land managers, biologists and archaeologists) in the mid 1990s.
A future for rural buildings- Jeremy Lake, RTPI CPD
A Future for Rural Buildings –Farmstead Assessment GuidanceJeremy LakeEnglish Heritage
Where were we?• Very poor evidence base• 1993 Policy statement• Presumption against residential conversion• Reflected in a significant number of local plans• No evaluation of the policyWhere we wanted to be• An updated policy framework which:• Is evidence-based• Is founded on an evaluation of previous policy• Recognises the reality of modern agriculture• Is more responsive to regional and local variation –works with and from the landscape context
The forces for change5% of farms already produce 80% of output,and further decline in number ofbusinesses especially in upland areas31% of listed farm buildings converted toother uses80% of permissions granted for change toresidential useguidance reflects limited knowledge of thenature and character of historicfarmsteadsuncertainty on the impact of proposals forreuseimprecise targetting of resources
New policy promotes positive means of managing change whichalign an understanding of the characteristics of historic farmsteadswith their potential for and sensitivity to changewww.helm.org.uk/farmbuildings
Extending the Evidence BaseFarmsteads Mapping, which rapidlyidentifies and describes the historiccharacter of ALL farmsteads, and theextent to which they have changed sincearound 1900, in their landscape andsettlement context.Mapping Current Use and Context,which uses the results of FarmsteadsMapping to reveal the current social andeconomic role of farmsteads.Photo Image Survey, which has usedexisting sources of photographicevidence to deepen understanding of therates of dereliction and developmentamongst traditional farm buildings atthe local authority and NationalCharacter Area level.
Change and Use in the WestMidlands• 88% of traditional farmsteads fromaround 1900 retaining some or allof their working buildings.• A very low proportion (under 20%)of surviving traditional farmsteadsare designated as national assets.
National Planning Policy Framework• The NPPF identifies the need for local planning authoritiesto ‘provide up to date evidence about the historicenvironment in their area (paragraph 169) and prepare localplanning guidance which uses historically-based landscapecharacter assessment (paragraph 170). In supporting aprosperous rural economy ‘Planning policies shouldsupport economic growth in rural areas in order to createjobs and prosperity by taking a positive approach tosustainable new development’ (Paragraph 28). Means ofpromoting this through local and neighbourhood plansinclude the ‘conversion of existing buildings and well-designed new buildings’.
Tools: Demand for a product• which is easy to use, amend and update;• is suited to a wide variety of applications;• helps identify key farmstead and building types in theirlandscape context;• links local distinctiveness to the broader regional andnational picture• informs and guides decisions about the options forsustainable reuse;• guides best practice, through flagging key design issuesand links to other more detailed guidance.
Planning Toolscan be applied to different needs and circumstancesWHAT DO I HAVE?Farmstead Character Guidance, whichallows users to understand the characterand significance of farmsteads at anational and local level.WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS ANDISSUES?Assessment Frameworks, applicable tolarge areas, such as estates and localauthorities, or to individual farmsteadsfor informing planning and landmanagement decisions.The key principles of the approach arebased on understanding• The character of farmsteads, whichresults from their historic developmentand function as whole sites, includingany routeways and spaces within andaround them, and how they are linked tothe surrounding landscape andsettlement.• Their significance, a factor that can beof critical importance in determiningplanning applications.• Their sensitivity to the different optionsfor change, both now and in the future.
National and Area GuidanceCONSISTENT HEADINGSAND TERMSSummary of Character,Significance and IssuesHistoric DevelopmentLandscape and SettlementFarmstead and Building TypesMaterials and Detailpilot Defra website at: www.farmsteadstoolkit.co.uk
Local Guidance - Farmstead andLandscapes Statements
Assessment - Cavendish EstatesPilot Study for Land ManagementAssessing Options and theirImpact• Collapse• Holding Repair• Convert• Restore
Historic Farmsteads: New UsesGeneral Design Issues• Setting• Daylight• Subdivision• Retaining features• Incorporatingservices and addinginsulation
PrevailingweatherPotential foradditionallandscapingLost or derelict heritageassets
‘Pursuing sustainable development involves seeking positive improvements inthe quality of the built, natural and historic environment... including….replacing poor design with better design..’ (para 9)Use an understanding of the plan form of the farmstead, and how it has changed, toinform the siting of new buildings that are sensitive to and enhance the historiccharacter of the site.