Local authorities have been urged to use new guidance to help give redundant farm buildings a future, and in doing so, protect the character of the countryside.
Many traditional farm buildings such as stone-built barns have become a financial burden for their owners as they have fallen out of agricultural use, but landowners are often left frustrated by their attempts to win approval for their alternative use.
New guidance on the maintenance, reuse and repair of these buildings has been published today by Historic England in the hope that more traditional farm buildings can be conserved through sustainable development.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, said local authorities must ensure that their planning departments actively allow for alterations and the reuse of these buildings or risk losing them altogether.
CLA president Ross Murray said: “These buildings are costly to maintain so in order to sustain them we must encourage new uses to make them relevant, valued and viable in the future.
“However, advice from Historic England alone will not solve the problem. It is essential that local authorities rise to the challenge and work with property owners to prevent our heritage from disappearing.”