Farm Buildings and Change on the Bolton Abbey Estate, North Yorkshire: A Character-based pilot study

This report summarises the results of a survey of field barns and other isolated farm buildings conducted by the Bolton Abbey estate in North Yorkshire. It summarises the key issues, the template for assessment being developed through national pilots and the results of the survey. The Site Assessment Framework was applied by the Estate to its buildings, and comprises a menu of issues to be considered. It can be adapted to different circumstances as required – in this context management of an estate. A separate annexe contains the maps which were prepared.

This project has highlighted the importance of several principal priorities to address, which are:

  1. understanding local and regional variation in the forces for present and future change, which are making the overwhelming majority of traditional buildings redundant for mainstream agricultural use;
  2. the importance of understanding the inherited character of buildings in their broader landscape and historical context;
  3. how they contribute to local distinctiveness and landscape character;
  4. to develop new tools for helping planners, landowners and others to identify the key characteristics of their area, and identify both their significance and sensitivity to the different options for change;
  5. to inform Environmental Stewardship, especially the revised guidance and scoring for targeting for Higher Level Schemes;
  6. to develop place-shaping tools including design guidance aimed at capitalising on the distinctive quality of traditional farmsteads and buildings;
  7. to further consider and debate the policy implications of an evidence-based approach.

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