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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 cor-
rugated 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 sim-
plest, ovcrgrand, market led schemes
towards the complex, multi-use schemes
which arc generally believed to offer the
best future for the mills. Whether commer-
cial 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 Sher-
wood 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 con-
sidered it must be demonstrated that the
buildings concerned are truly redundant.
Applications must therefore be accom-
panied 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 con-
version; 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 con-
sidered 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 archi-
tectural 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. Pro-
posals 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 garag-
ing this should, wherever possible, be
accommodated within existing ancillary
farm buildings such as cart sheds.
New build garaging will only be permit-
ted as a last resort where there are no suit-
able existing buildings.

(8)
Permitted development
In order to protect converted farm
buildings from potentially visually-
damaging domestic elements such as con-
servatories, garden sheds, greenhouses,
patios and screen fences, the Council will, as
a matter of course, remove normal permit-
ted development rights at the time of grant-
ing 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
12
CONTEXT 26

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