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Rural & Estates

We are proud of our record in the rural economy and our role in the countryside.

Whether we are advising on agricultural development, diversification projects or redevelopment, we know how the right approach to get results. We have a history of working with agricultural advisors and agents which gives us valuable links and insight to the community, as does our membership of the CLA, AVA and support for the Royal Agricultural University.

Our experience includes:

  • Equestrian
  • Barn Conversion
  • Rural worker’s dwellings
  • Farm buildings
  • Agricultural use changed to commercial or residential
  • Live work units
  • Glamping/camping and other diversification
  • Farm shop



Cotswold Barn Conversion

Planning permission secured for a barn conversion, providing a high quality and tranquil new family home near Hinchwick in the Cotswolds.

The barns form part of a small cluster of three barns situated in an isolated location in the open countryside and in the Cotswold AONB. Working closely with the architectural team and client, we evolved a scheme which would make best use of the two structurally sound barns, whilst re-using the land of one barn in a poor state of repair as a new residential garden and landscaping area.

Being in an isolated location normally results in conflict with planning policies, which seek to direct development to what are often considered more sustainable locations. However, as the project was seeking to make use of existing rural buildings, we were able to successfully argue that the project complied with paragraph 80 of the NPPF and a local planning policy which supports the reuse of modern rural buildings, permitted they are structurally sound and readily convertible. By providing a supporting structural report as part of the application, we were able to demonstrate this requirement.

In addition to structural issues, the development site’s location in the AONB and in a sensitive landscape area meant that the architectural design, landscaping, and layout of the proposed garden needed to be carefully considered to ensure the final buildings would not result in a significant visual increase of residential paraphernalia in the countryside. In addition to providing a detailed landscaping scheme, the architectures harmony with the buildings agricultural heritage meant the Council agreed that the project would not result in a visual harm to the wider countryside or AONB.

As is common with rural buildings, evidence was also needed that the barn did not provide valued habitat for protected species, such as bats. In this case it was demonstrated that the barns did not provide suitable habitat for bats and evidence was provided that the landscaping works proposed would provide significant biodiversity net gain and future habitat for local wildlife in accordance with National Government requirements.

This project demonstrates the importance of carefully considering what information could be requested and required to ensure the submission of a robust planning application. For barn conversions, the provision of structural surveys, ecological assessments, landscaping and carefully considered architectural design are just some of the requirements which commonly arise.

Nathan McLoughlin and Chris Fleming have successfully secured planning permission for many client’s barn conversion projects across the UK and are so pleased we could offer our experience to provide our client with a beautiful new home. It was also a great pleasure working with the team at Tyack Architects.

If you are considering your options for a barn conversion and would like to learn more about what is involved, then please give us a call on 01242 895008 or email

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Cotswold Equestrian Facilities

Planning permission secured for the conversion of an agricultural building in Moreton in Marsh to new purpose built equestrian facilities.

Cotswold Riding School approached McLoughlin Planning to help support their plans and aspirations to relocate their riding facilities to a new site near Moreton on Marsh, Cotswold. The riding school had secured a previous agricultural site with a derelict barn and wanted support to secure the conversion of the land and barn, as well as advice and support for the erection of a new purpose built stable and riding arena to allow the new business to move onto the site.

Chris Fleming worked with the riding school to support their aspirations and advise on an appropriate planning strategy. Following an initial site appraisal, Mcloughlin Planning helped with assembling the planning application with the project team, by preparing a supporting planning statement and submitting and managing the application with Cotswold District Council through to a decision.

The case was structured around being able to evidence the importance equestrian businesses have in supporting the rural economy and how stables are visually common and expected built forms in the countryside.

Officers agreed with the assessment and planning benefits provided by the proposed development and we are pleased that planning permission has now been granted. The new riding school will be a positive new addition to the Moreton on Marsh community.

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Cotswold Shooting Lodge

Mcloughlin Planning has successfully secured planning permission for the conversion of an agricultural building in Sandhurst, Gloucestershire.

Our client had previously secured prior approval for the erection of an agricultural barn to support their existing wider farming operation.

Having secured this approval the owner included (as part of the build) an internal space to provide a shooting lodge.

As their prior approval had limited the use of the barn to solely agricultural use, we were asked what could be done about this? Having a strong working relationship with the Council we were able to agree steps forward and therefore prepare and submit a planning application.

Chris Fleming, one of our Associate Directors, has years of experience working with rural land and property owners across Gloucestershire and the South West. His experience and expertise offered useful insight into the best planning strategy to ensure a robust planning application.

Demonstrating that the shooting lodge offered opportunities for farm diversification and that the proposal would not result in any planning harm, Chris worked closely with the Case Officer and Head of Planning at Tewkesbury Borough Council to reached a positive outcome.

This project is a great example of the importance of understanding restrictions and opportunities from planning decisions and experience in understanding rural planning policies.

We are so pleased that our team were able to add value to our client’s project and that the Cotswolds has a handsome new shooting lodge in its midst.


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Barn Conversion - Poultry Barn to Home

McLoughlin Planning is pleased to have secured planning permission for the conversion of a Poultry Barn to provide a large new family-sized home in the Forest of Dean.

The barn was previously used to house poultry, but this has become unviable due to changes in farming practices which have impacted the number of birds which could be housed, and the bread of birds reared, the farm owner needed to find an alternative use for the building.

Given the barns’ location, away from services and settlements, planning policy provides a very limited list of exemptions for what can be secured. However, it is structurally sound, has a large footprint, has good access to a public highway and has impressive countryside views; its regeneration into a dwelling was considered a sensible way to make efficient use of the property.

Referring to paragraph 80 of the NPPF, which allows for the re-use of disused or redundant buildings in the countryside, in conjunction with Class Q permitted development rights as a fallback position, we were able to successfully argue that the principle of converting the barn would be acceptable.

In addition to the principle of development, consideration needed to be given to the impact of the proposed conversion on the countryside. Working closely with the team at RRA Architects, a design was proposed which would set back window openings into the elevation to reduce visual impact and incorporate parking, bin, and cycle storage all internally to avoid any external domestic paraphernalia that may otherwise be perceived as harmful to the countryside.

Furthermore, working with Ros Wilder Ecology, additional planting, landscaping, and bat/bird boxes were proposed to enhance biodiversity net gain and reintroduce foraging flight paths for bats and local birds.

The Council worked proactively with us to include reasonable planning conditions to secure the environmental benefits of the scheme. We are really pleased to see the efficient re-use, great design and new home an unviable poultry barn can provide.

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