By 2024, secure significant funding to repair, restore, and – where appropriate – find adaptive new uses for traditional field barns, particularly those in Swaledale, Arkengarthdale and Littondale.
How are we doing on this objective
Progress: In November 2021 the target date for this objective was put back from 2022 to 2024. During 2020/21 5 barns were restored (through Natural England’s traditional farm building pilot, and the Muker Barns project), and a further 29 repaired and re-used through conversions.
Rationale: Traditional field barns and drystone walls are a defining quality of this National Park but half of them are thought to be in poor or very bad condition. The sheer number of buildings (>6,000) and length of walls (>8,000km), together with the absence of sufficient funding means not everything can or will be conserved. But if significant new funding can be found, some of the most important examples can be targeted, especially in the two designated ‘Barns and Walls Conservation Areas’. Recent changes to planning policies have created more opportunities to convert suitable roadside barns to housing or business uses. Many other buildings are not suitable for conversion to intensive uses at all, so further effort is needed to stimulate more innovative and sensitive options to broaden the potential for adaptive re-use.
Lead partner: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
Cost over 5 years: £7,800,000
Funding shortfall: £7,300,000
Ecosystem services: Sense of place and inspiration; Sense of history; Biodiversity,
Trade-offs: Works to traditional field barns – especially conversion to new uses – can have impacts on the landscape character (A3) and wildlife (C2). Planning policies in the Local Plan provide a framework for these impacts to be balanced against the long term benefits of maintaining buildings in viable uses that, in many cases, will avoid declining condition and dereliction, together with securing wider social and economic public benefits from the new use.