Wicken farmer outlines plans for stunning barn conversion

3:40 PM April 10, 2022

Farmer Jonny Fuller revealed plans to convert a redundant barn into a family home and two holiday lets.

Mr Fuller, of Spinney Abbey Farm at Stretham Road, Wicken, put his proposals forward to East Cambridgeshire District Council.

His application is accompanied by an ‘economic viability assessment’ prepared by Cheffins which shows the costs – up to £800,000 – of trying to convert the barn to office space is not viable.

Although Cheffins agree research shows office space is generally still considered essential, the pandemic has changed things.

Before and after: Wicken barn conversion plans
– Credit: ECDC

It has, says Cheffins, initiated “structural shifts in the way office space is used by tenants and how it might be used in the future.

“Indeed, this sentiment was reflected by the 87 per cent of survey responses that reported seeing office space being re-purposed.

“And the net balance of available office space continuing to fall despite stunted demand.”

Cheffins also ruled out other commercial uses on grounds of cost.

Getting an idea of ​​what's there now and what is planned at Wicken farm

Getting an idea of ​​what’s there now and what is planned at Wicken farm
– Credit: ECDC

A design and access statement promises that if permission is given, they will “remain as many features of the existing barn as possible”.

Large feature barn doors, for instance, will be incorporated into the scheme by being fixed open back to the wall.

“New full height glass will fill the existing opening to flood the internal spaces with light, whilst having a minimal impact on the existing building,” says the design application.

“Conservation rooflights will be included to provide fire escape to the rear bedrooms, as well as to enhance the internal environment with natural light.

“No extensions or changes to the building footprint will occur.”

Barn conversion visual for Wicken farm

Barn conversion visual for Wicken farm
– Credit: ECDC

Internally there will be “existing vaulted ceilings forming focus features within both the family dwelling and holiday rental units”.

Timber beams will be exposed and incorporated in the design to enhance the new spaces.

“The converted threshing barn will accentuate the existing features, including keeping the existing stairwell open to the first-floor element of the new dwelling,” says the statement.

Specialists who inspected the barn advised Mr Johnson that she is “readily capable of retention and conversion.”

They added that “in this instance, retention and conversion of the existing barn into habitable standard accommodation will be straightforward to adopt”.

Overall, it would be “beneficial in extending the serviceable life of this period style barn”.

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