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South Downs National Park

We were approached in 2015 by clients for whom we had worked before who owned a barn in the South Downs National Park on land their family had farmed for generations.  Their brief was to convert the oak framed barn and extend it with a new oak frame to form a family home which could also be used as a B&B. 

As well as being within the National Park, the barn also sits within a Conservation Area and alongside a pair of listed thatched cottages, so a carefully considered and sympathetic design was required, to overcome the general presumption against development.  Nye Saunders developed a design for the barn which removed modern, unsightly extensions and replaced them with more appropriate oak framed additions.  The main barn is thatched with the extensions roofed with plain clay tiles – all materials appropriate to the local vernacular.

We undertook extensive pre-application consultations with SDNP to arrive at a scheme which was acceptable.  A planning application was then prepared and we coordinated various consultants to provide supporting information for the application.  We also prepared presentation drawings and CGI visualisations to sells the design to the planning officer and committee.  We submitted the planning application and guided it through the planning system, liaising with the Conservation and Heritage Officer, Night Skies Officer and Planning Officer to obtain an officer recommendation for approval.  However, due to a number of letters of objection the application went to committee, where we spoke in support of the application and put forward the planning arguments for the proposals.  The committee agreed with our arguments and approved the application. 


Following approval, Nye Saunders worked with our clients to discharge various planning conditions and prepared a set of working drawings.  Our clients have worked with various skilled craftsmen to create a beautiful thatched barn conversion which is now open as a bed and breakfast.

Further information on the barn, the conversion and its history can be found at


Photo credit Laura Kelly:

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