Cotswold barn conversion plans approved despite dozens of objections

District planners have given the go-ahead to convert a Cotswold barn into three homes despite concerns it will be like “putting lipstick on a pig”.

More than 50 people objected to Great Westcote Ltd’s proposals to redevelop the buildings at Church Farm in Nether Westcote near Chipping Norton.

The plans for the former workshop are to redevelop the existing barn and surrounding yard to create three homes and parking areas.

But some 54 residents and Nether Westcote Parish Meeting opposed the proposals.

Residents feel the building’s appearance would be unattractive and its design is not compatible with the local Cotswold style.

They also fear the light pollution caused by the use of large windows would harm the dark skies of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Ward councillor David Cunningham (Con, Fosseridge) said: “This plot sits on a very prominent part of the slope and can be seen from far and wide.

“I agree that this is making the existing horrible old shed look better but, if you’ll excuse me, this is putting lipstick on a pig.

“It’s a horrible building and they are going to make it look a little bit better.

“I don’t think that’s the purpose of the committee.

“We are not trying to turn the Cotswolds into an amber encased park. We are just trying to retain some of the better aspects of the AONB.”

A planning agent speaking on behalf of the developer said the conversion was sympathetic and sensitively designed.

He said the applicant was committed to delivering sustainable developments.

“It would not be environmentally responsible to knock the building down when a conversion scheme is feasible, ” he told the Cotswold District Council planning committee.

“And this will reduce the development’s embodied carbon by retaining its existing structural steel framework.”

Planning officers recommended approving the scheme as they said it would improve the appearance of the site.

They also said that overall, the development will not harm the character and appearance of the AONB and its impact on local roads is considered acceptable.

The planning committee approved the scheme by six votes to four with one abstention.

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