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Farm Buildings

This section provides advice on maintaining and repairing traditional farm buildings where they remain in agricultural or related uses.

The section also includes advice on converting traditional farm buildings to non-agricultural uses when this is the only option to sustain their future.

Colour photograph of a converted farm building
A field barn converted into an architects' office in Herefordshire © Historic England

Traditional farmsteads and their buildings make a significant contribution to local character and distinctiveness, through variations in their scale, layout, buildings and materials. Future change is inevitable if they are to be retained as a distinctive part of the rural landscape. This can be achieved in ways which are based on an understanding of local variations in the character and significance of farmsteads, and their sensitivity to and potential for change.

  • The Farmsteads Assessment Framework will help you assess their historic character, significance and sensitivity to change at the earliest stage in the planning process.

National Farmstead Assessment Framework

National Farmstead Assessment Framework

Published 23 March 2015

Guidance to help secure sustainable development and the conservation of traditional farmsteads and their buildings through the planning system.

  • The Conversion of Traditional Farm Buildings: A Guide to Good Practice provides detailed advice with examples on how to achieve a successful conversion.

Conversion of Traditional Farm Buildings

Conversion of Traditional Farm Buildings

Published 29 September 2006

The purpose of this guidance is to act as an aid to understanding traditional farm buildings to help inform change, as well as to provide practical technical and design advice so that farm buildings capable of conversion can be repaired and adapted for new uses in a sensitive way, while preserving their character, significance and landscape setting.

  • The Maintenance and Repair of Traditional Farm Buildings: A Guide to Good Practice, provides detailed advice on maintaining and repairing traditional farm buildings. It complements our Farming the Historic Landscape series, and is also relevant for buildings in non-agricultural uses.

The Maintenance and Repair of Traditional Farm Buildings

The Maintenance and Repair of Traditional Farm Buildings

Published 23 September 2011

This publication gives practical advice to farmers, land managers and others involved with the maintenance and repair of traditional farm buildings.

For more information on the historic character and significance of farmsteads see:

The development of an evidence base using continuing research and changing economic realities will inform changes to our advice Living Buildings in a Living Landscape, 2006. This contains a national overview of the importance of traditional farm buildings, the drivers of change that affect their management and regional summaries of their historic character. See below for related publications.

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