The conservation and conversion of traditional farm buildings : an evaluation based on the Pennine Uplands
The conservation and conversion of traditional farm buildings (TFBs) has become an important issue in the British countryside. This is because it represents a physical manifestation of a number of processes which are presently influencing rural areas. Changes in farming systems brought about under the influence of European Community (EC) farm policies have increased the number of TFBs which are available for conservation and conversion. Reduced production subsidies to agriculture have stimulated efforts to find alternative methods of supporting farm businesses. A number of these options involve TFBs. The adverse effects of agricultural recession combined with an increased government emphasis on private enterprise, has resulted in greater pressure to stimulate rural development sometimes involving the use of TFBs. Conservation and conversion of TFBs has been further encouraged by rural social changes most notably rural in-migration which has created pressure for residential conversions. In addition to pressure for development, there has been an increased awareness of the heritage value of TFBs as conservation has become a mainstream political issue. The thesis evaluates TFBs in the Pennines both as structures in their own right and in terms of conservation and conversion. The ultimate aim is to assess the relative merits of the various options available for TFBs in the Pennines. The research outlines 'the resource' of TFBs available in the Pennines, before it goes on to consider the conservation and conversion options available. Four interdependant sources of research evidence are utilised: questionnaires of farmers, questionnaires of local planning authorities, site visits and interview material. The main elements of research are drawn together into a comprehensive evaluation of the conservation and conversion of TFBs in the Pennines, thus enabling conclusions and recommendations to be developed principally: what is the true value of the conservation and conversion of TFBs; how practice can be made to achieve policy aims and how policy aims need to be adjusted to fit the reality as demonstrated in the Pennines.