Successful diversification of difficult green belt site

As part of the Hall Barn Estate, Buckinghamshire, the former Poultry Farm site comprised a range of former agricultural buildings let for commercial storage and workshop uses.

The buildings were dated, tired and in desperate need of repair. Like with many similar sites, the low income generating uses meant there was no financial incentive to reinvest. 

With the Green Belt and Historic Park designation of the land, a financially viable solution permissible in the eyes of the local authority, at the time, seemed difficult to achieve.


A local specialised car restoration business was in need of around 3,500 sq ft of workshop space as their current premises has been granted planning consent for redevelopment. The business could not afford the commercial rents elsewhere in Beaconsfield and the Estate was keen for the town not to lose a unique and specialised industry.

Our Approach

The Poultry Farm site was identified as a potential site for relocating the business with its close proximity to the town and existing commercial uses. However, the existing buildings were not suitable in terms of size, construction, condition or layout. A new building was the only viable option. 

The Challenge

The challenge was to prove that this proposal was an acceptable form of development in the Green Belt and Historic Park.

poultry farm rural spectator


How we did it

  • Firstly, we established the site’s existing commercial use through an evidenced based submission which then meant that it was considered Previously Developed Land in terms of planning policy.
  • Secondly, we increased the commercial footprint on the site by applying for, and achieving, a change of use of a large redundant agricultural building adjoining the site using Class R permitted development rights.
  • Finally, we applied for full planning permission for the construction of a new workshop. To overcome Green Belt policy, we fully exploited the newly established Previously Developed Land status and the now increased commercial footprint at the site. As part of the application, we agreed to demolish the Class R building and two smaller units with established commercial use.
  • In doing so, we not only managed to prove there would be no increase in built footprint as a result of the development, but managed to reduce the overall built form on the site which subsequently reduced the spread of development and satisfied the local planners concerns over development in the Green Belt.


  • Overcoming strict Green Belt Policy
  • Increasing the useable commercial space on the site for future development
  • Securing an additional income for the Estate
  • Increasing the viability of low income generating buildings in need of repair
  • Helping a local business to stay in the area

Cross Divisional Work

Rural, both Estate Management but also RDD incorporating architecture, structural engineering and planning. 

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