Six-year barn planning saga ends in 'commonsense' decision

PUBLISHED: 12:04 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:18 06 May 2010

A PLANNING saga involving a demolished barn which has been dragging on for more than six years has at last been resolved. Scurr and Partners of Harpendenbury Farm, Harpendenbury in Redbourn which employs around 90 people has been given planning permission

A PLANNING saga involving a demolished barn which has been dragging on for more than six years has at last been resolved.

Scurr and Partners of Harpendenbury Farm, Harpendenbury in Redbourn which employs around 90 people has been given planning permission to rebuild the demolished barn at the heart of the dispute.

The firm of architects which already occupies a restored tithe barn applied more than six years ago for planning permission to adapt and refurbish a nearby old dairy, built around 50 years ago, so that they could grow their business.

Eventually they were granted permission to carry out work on the barn provided they kept 17 per cent of the original walls.

But Mrs Jeryl Scurr, wife of owner David, explained at the time that when the building work started it would have cost a fortune to underpin and stabilise the remains of a few breeze blocks hanging together.

She said: "We should have gone back to the planning department to explain our predicament but it had become a health-and-safety risk so we had to demolish it."

The firm's action led to St Albans District Council's plans (north) committee voting to take enforcement action against them. An appeal followed with a planning inquiry into the issue due to be held on June 11.

But councillors have had a change of heart and advised the firm to submit a brand-new plan for the site which was granted permission at the last meeting of plans (north) on May 12.

Bob Stares, the firm's managing director, said: "Commonsense has prevailed. Councillors told us they loved what we had done with the old tithe barn and recognised the new building based on a green oak frame would be totally in keeping and enhance the area."

He explained that the oak-framed building would be lower and around half the size of the tithe barn and would not exceed the footprint of the building which stood there previously.

Mr Stares added: "We are delighted because we desperately need more room but did not want to move elsewhere as this is a prestigious site for us. Obviously it is better for our staff if we can keep everyone here on the same site.

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