Neighbour fears Northamptonshire barn conversion could get go-ahead despite warnings from highways experts

A villager fears a scheme to turn an empty barn into a two-bed house in Northamptonshire could be waived through after planners said they would ignore highways experts' warnings.

Friday, 16th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:33 pm
Plans to convert a barn into a house in Spratton could be approved against the advice of highways experts.

Daventry District Council received an application to convert the former blacksmith’s shop in Spratton at the end of August.

The building, in Brixworth Road, dates back to the 1700s and used to be an outbuilding of the neighbouring property - a former coaching inn - but was sold in 1970.

It has no land or off-street parking and was put up for sale earlier this year.

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But despite warnings from the highways authority that parking on the pavement outside would be illegal, Daventry planners have indicated they would be willing to give it the green light.

Neighbour Philip Wheeler, 49, is fighting the bid because he says it would create a house “in his front garden.”

“It will be so close that all our privacy will be lost,” he said. “They will be able to see into our bedrooms. We will be exposed to everything that they do.”

According to documents submitted to Daventry District Council, the highways advice was: “Unless parking can be contained on site, the LHA (local highways authority) would not support a change of use to a dwelling.

“A house in Spratton will have at least two cars, if not more. Parking on the pavement is neither to be condoned or encouraged, it is actually illegal. The building is only fit for use by someone who already has parking provision elsewhere in the village.”

However, planning officer Sue Barnes said in her pre-application advice to the developers: “I am of the opinion that use of the property as a dwelling would not result in a significant increase in the number of vehicles parking near to the site and therefore there would not be increased harm.”

She added: “I therefore consider that you could put a case to justify the change of use of the building to a dwelling.”

Mr Wheeler said he was “gobsmacked” by the officer’s response.

He said: “When cars park by the phone box, it is almost impossible to see down Brixworth Road when reversing out of our drive. This is an accident waiting to happen.”

The plan is due to be considered by Spratton Parish Council’s planning committee on September 20, and a decision will then be taken by Daventry District Council.

The district council has been approached for a comment.