Demolition of village barns will bring 'many benefits', claims developer

Vision of barn home in Little Downham

A vision of what one of the new barn homes would look like in Little Downham if plans are approved. - Credit: Gary Johns Architects

A developer hoping to demolish two village barns and build new homes in their place believe their plans will bring “many benefits”. 

Cambuild Limited have applied to demolish two agricultural barns off Ely Road, Little Downham and instead build two houses on the same site. 

Gary Johns Architects, on behalf of the applicant, say each home was due to have four bedrooms. 

“The site opens out and is part of a larger agricultural field with two existing barns to the north boundary with grassland to the south and east,” they said.   

“There is an opportunity to increase the size of the dwellings to the south, improving the layout of the living spaces and relationship with outdoor space.” 

Vision of new barn home in Little Downham

A vision of what one of the new barn homes would look like in Little Downham if plans are approved. - Credit: Gary Johns Architects

Last July, plans to change the barns from agricultural to residential use were granted prior approval by East Cambridgeshire District Council. 

However, Gary Johns Architects say that reconstructing both buildings “in order to improve quality of the resulting dwellings outweighs the benefits of reusing the existing frames.” 

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They believe that “there are many benefits which improve the overall quality and improved technical design” by building new homes rather than converting the existing barns. 

Vision of barn homes in Little Downham

A vision of what the new barn homes in Little Downham look like from a nearby field. - Credit: Gary Johns Architects

A planning statement by Cheffins says the developer has been given over two years to complete the plans under prior approval. 

Cheffins adds that the homes will be “in keeping with the agricultural character” of the barns, and will support other services in the village through residential growth. 

Highways engineer Shane Luck was conscious of issues over accessing the site.

But he said: “While it is not ideal to access the site from within a bus stop layby, I note that this is an existing access and that the site benefits from a prior approval.”

Existing barns in Ely Road, Little Downham

What the existing barns look like in Little Downham from the site access point. - Credit: Gary Johns Architects

   

Last year, concerns were raised over whether access to the barns through a bus stop was suitable, as well as contamination on site. 

But a transport statement from SLR Consulting found access to be “wholly appropriate for the development”. 

Layout of site for new barn homes in Little Downham

An aerial view of the site layout on land off Ely Road in Little Downham where new barn homes are proposed. - Credit: Gary Johns Architects

At the time, one resident felt that approving the plans could encourage further development of site which “will further exacerbate the inherent safety problems of the site and for those living there”.