A plan to rejig a Herefordshire farm for residential use has been passed despite widespread local opposition.

Matthew and Julia Priestman of Barley Knapp Farm near Peterchurch in the Golden Valley had sought planning permission to restore the farmhouse, convert a granary alongside to an annex, turn a traditional barn into two homes, and to replace a metal-framed shed with two further houses.

Permission already granted to convert the shed into housing constituted a “fallback position” if the new plan were refused, planning officer Elsie Morgan told Herefordshire Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (January 17).


The plan has been controversial locally, with 66 objections submitted.

Coun Sandra Salter said Peterchurch parish council's objections related to the access along “steep and narrow” Long Lane which lacks public passing places, and the “inadequate” proposed drainage into the seasonal Black Brook, while the “elevated” houses would be “intrusive and out of keeping” with the scenic area.

“This has gathered an enormous number of objections for such a scattered population,” she added.


But the applicants’ agent Matt Tompkins said the couple had consulted with the council officers and the community on the scheme, which he described as “appropriate, balanced and sustainable”.

Proposing approving the plan, committee member Coun Bruce Baker said he had “form a positive view” of the proposal at a site visit the previous day, though he added of the planning route through with permission to convert the shed had already been granted: “It is what it is, and we are stuck with it.”

Councillors narrowly backed the proposal, with two voting against and three abstaining.