A bid to turn a barn on a Herefordshire farm into a house has been dismissed by a Government inspector.

Andy Fowler had sought prior approval – that is, an entitlement not to require planning permission – for the plan to convert the portal-frame barn at Beauchamp House, Acton Beauchamp, between Bromyard and Ledbury.

The house was to be entirely within the 68-square-metre footprint of the existing barn, while the existing roadway would have “provided adequate access”, his application said.

Mr Fowler’s approval bid to Herefordshire Council was rejected last November, the planning officer ruling that it was not clear that the barn was “solely for an agricultural use” at the key date of March 20, 2013.

This was due in part to the presence of a mobile home in the barn, apparently used to “store domestic paraphernalia”, the officer said.


And given the “limited structural elements that would be retained”, the proposed building work would “be so extensive that it would result in a new build”, he added.

Mr Fowler appealed this decision, but following an appeal enquiry, planning inspector Lewis Condé has now come down on the side of the council.

He considered that “on the balance of probabilities”, the barn was indeed in agricultural use in March 2013.

But on the second point, he said it was apparent both from the submitted plans and his own site visit that “the external fabric of the building would largely be replaced”.

He concluded that what was proposed “would go beyond what could reasonably be described as conversion”, meaning the plan fell outside national permitted development rules.