Historic Farm Buildings
Historic Farm Buildings (and associated structures) form an important part of the rural Landscape of the Winchester area. Due to the high numbers of these buildings, both locally and nationally, farm buildings form a high proportion of the nation’s listed building stock, especially in rural areas. Advances in farming practices over the last century from more traditional methods to a greater reliance on technology has changed the way in which these buildings are used with many no longer being considered to be fit for purpose for today’s more mechanised farming practices. Consequently this means that many farm buildings are now lying empty and neglected with a significant number unfortunately now falling into disrepair.
Due to their form, materials and construction, historic farm buildings are often not capable of being adapted to modern farming practices without affecting their fabric and internal spaces, often leading to an erosion of their character and architectural and historic interest. In addition, many farm buildings have now been sold off for development and conversion into both domestic residences and for other commercial and leisure uses. If poorly executed, these conversions can have an adverse effect on both the buildings themselves and their immediate setting. The effect of this can mean that the connection is lost between the buildings and their landscape context, having a further impact on the wider historic landscape character.
As with other non-domestic listed buildings, there is often a conflict in the conservation and conversion of historic farm buildings. If they are left empty and unmaintained for long periods they will continue to deteriorate and could, ultimately be lost forever. However, if they are converted unsympathetically and without following accepted design guidance their conversion can lead to inappropriate and irreversible changes being made that changes and harms their character
In order to ensure that historic farm buildings can be successfully converted (while still maintaining their historic and architectural character) there are a number of issues that should be addressed during the design and project planning phases: