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PGS: Farm Building Conversions

Many traditional (historic) farm buildings are unsuitable for modern farming use and alternative uses are often sought for them.

The Society believes that the best alternative uses are those which contribute to the viability of the farming operation; examples might include farm shops, other retail, micro-brewery or wineries. In general the Chiltern Society should support these re-use applications, whilst having regard to The Chilterns Building Design Guide for applications within the AONB, and any traffic impacts on rural lanes etc. Only rarely will conversion to housing be a preferred option.

Where change of use would involve greater physical changes to the building, the area representatives of the Society’s Historic Buildings and Landscape Group should be alerted to the application so that it can be decided whether the historic interest of the building or its setting will be damaged. This is particularly relevant to proposals for residential conversions.

Modern farm buildings are very rarely suitable for conversion and such applications should not be supported. In particular, a building that has been built for agricultural or similar use (either under agricultural permitted development rights or otherwise) should not be allowed to be converted to residential or other non-farming use in less than 10 years.


  1. The Government is planning to shortly introduce permitted development rights for conversion of agricultural buildings; details are awaited, but this may have a bearing on what we are able to influence.
  2. The HBLG have produced more detailed guidance in their policy Conversion of Historical Farm Buildings and Farmsteads in the Chiltern Hills. This is currently under review but should still be accessible via HBLG representatives


Revision date: DRAFT June 2013.


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The Chiltern Society Planning Group monitors all parishes in the Chilterns.