South Hams has a stunningly attractive environment. Much of this is natural and derives from its beautiful coastline and undulating landscape. However, in part it stems from the impact of human activity, and particular the good husbandry of the land by farmers.
Traditional farmsteads and their buildings are part of the distinctive character of the district, and as farming has changed they have become redundant and new uses have had to be found. This process of change is controlled by planning policies at national, county and local level, and these are set out at the end of this document. We recognise that these policies need to be interpreted and explained, which is why this guide has been produced. We hope you will find it helpful, interesting and informative.
Whilst the guide encourages a sensitive approach to the adaptation of traditional farm buildings it is important to understand that the best thing would be for them to remain in agricultural use – not simply to serve conservation interests, but ecological, social and cultural ones too, and at the time of writing, Government grants are available to help this be an economic option.
The Barn Guide explains the Councils planning policies on the change of use and alteration of traditional farm buildings. It encourages a sensitive approach based on an understanding of the history and function of buildings and suggests the best ways of dealing with the usual design problems encountered.
We hope this guide will help to ensure traditional farm buildings continue to enhance the landscape of the South Hams.