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THE MONTAGU REPORT
TEN YEARS ON
cal hard times before the merits of the building re-use can be seen in an even light.
This is the more the pity in that there are excellent examples around the valleys of very low cost re-use. At perhaps the most complete of the mill complexes, St. Mary’s, Chalford, one private owner has achieved a great deal. When George Reynolds and his brother bought the mill in the 1960s, a quixotic gesture at the time, the only other bid was for the stone. Slowly the brothers repaired adjoining minor buildings for their own use and then, floor by floor, starting from the bottom (!), repaired the main mill
which is now entirely in use. (This is not entirely a success story because there are other buildings on the site which still give cause for concern).
At Ruskin Mill, Nailsworth, a similarly low profile piece of care and repair has excellently resulted in a small mill full of craftsmen. That the mill still has a corrugated tin roof does not accord, perhaps, with the twee image of conservation in the Cotswolds. Since it emphasises the fact that practical re-use and employment come first, I find the roof a quite acceptable and low price to pay.
In the 1990s, the challenge for re-use policies will be to see to what extent they can be modified to get away from the simplest, ovcrgrand, market led schemes towards the complex, multi-use schemes which arc generally believed to offer the best future for the mills. Whether commercial backing for such schemes will be forthcoming remains to be tested. At Long- fords Mill, weaving finished less than a year ago. The site is remarkably picturesque, its character depending on the amazing variety of age and form of the buildings on the site. To avoid the imposition of a new unifor mity, and adequately to accommodate the buildings, mixed use is essential.
However, the site is owned by a national company which openly states that its first concern must be profitability. It is likely that the fearsome prospect of “Longfords Village a new concept in village living in the heart of the heritage valleys but only 90 minutes from Paddington” has retreated. But will the returns from the mixture of commercial, light industrial, residential and recreational uses which the buildings could best accommodate ever prove sufficient to attract developers?
As the project officer for the Stroud Valleys Project, I will be supporting the council and English Heritage in pressing for the right scheme. Appropriate mixed use is essential. Despite the decade of practice since the Montagu Report, however, it is far from certain.
On 5 December 1989, Newark and Sherwood District Council adopted a policy of conversion of redundant agricultural buildings to new uses.

(1)
Redundancy
Before planning applications for conversion of farm buildings to residential use are considered it must be demonstrated that the buildings concerned are truly redundant. Applications must therefore be accompanied by a written statement indicating:
(a)
how long the building has been
redundant;
(b)reasons why the building is not capable of some other agricultural use or related purpose (ie storage);
(c)
what efforts have been made to seek
alternative non-residential uses which would result in a more sympathetic conversion; and
(d)
if the conversion would necessitate the
erection of alternative buildings to accommodate existing contents.

(2)
Architectural value and planning
policy on housing in the countryside
Outside ‘village envelopes’ applications for conversion of agricultural buildings to residential use will only be permitted if the buildings are traditional buildings considered to be of significant architectural, historic, or scenic value in the landscape, sufficient to warrant overriding the normal Council policy on restrictive development in the countryside. Buildings which have been significantly altered since their original construction will not normally be permitted for conversion.

(3)
Listed Buildings
Only a few agricultural buildings in Newark and Sherwood District are sufficiently important to have the status of being listed and in view of this the presumption will be against their conversion to residential use in favour of ‘other uses which are more likely to preserve their character unless it can be demonstrated that their very special architectural and spatial qualities are to be left virtually unaltered.

(4)
Alterations
In the interests of retaining the essential character and architectural integrity of farm buildings, alterations to existing fabric will be required to be kept to the minimum necessary to facilitate the new use. In par-
ticular, windows should be restricted to the position of existing openings. Alien fea tures such as dormer windows, external meter boxes, and masonry chimneys will not be appropriate. If the overall effect of a particular proposal destroys the essential character of the building the conversion will not be allowed.

(5)
Extensions
As a general rule, proposals to convert farm buildings should be contained within the confines of the existing building shell. Proposals which rely on new-build elements in order to make them work will not normally be permitted.

(6)
The Setting
In the interests of preserving the functional character of the surroundings of traditional farm buildings, proposals which involve the creation of intrusive suburban features such as fencing in crew yards, excessive paving and ill-conceived garaging will not be permitted.

(7)
Garaging
That where it is intended to provide garaging this should, wherever possible, be accommodated within existing ancillary farm buildings such as cart sheds.
New build garaging will only be permitted as a last resort where there are no suitable existing buildings.

(8)
Permitted development
In order to protect converted farm buildings from potentially visually- damaging domestic elements such as conservatories, garden sheds, greenhouses, patios and screen fences, the Council will, as a matter of course, remove normal permitted development rights at the time of granting planning permission. A S.52 Agreement may be more appropriate in certain cases.

(9)
Survey information
In order that the Planning Authority can properly assess proposals for the conversion of agricultural buildings, all applications must be. accompanied by detailed measured survey drawings of the existing fabric at a scale of not less than 1:50. Drawings must show accurately all the elevations, plan, cross and longitudinal sections and must indude critical dimensions, roof pitch and any unusual or critical construction details.
NOTTINGHAMSH]IRE:
CONVERSION
OF AGRICULTURAL BUILDINGS
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CONTEXT 26

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