Has Grand Designs killed off the barn conversion?

Horror stories on the Kevin McCloud show have been blamed as the reason behind a fall in the number of conversions. It’s not the first time a TV programme has changed the nation’s makeover habits.


Now barn conversions are officially on the wane with the number of agriculture-to-residential property conversions in England falling by a quarter over the past year. According to a report by funding firm Saving Stream, conversions dropped from 563 in 2015 to 413 for the same period in 2016. The decline is attributed to a lack of funding, uncertainty following Brexit, the increase in stamp duty on second homes, and adventurous builders being put off by horror stories on TV shows

Barn conversions are in decline because developers are scared by nightmare tales from TV programmes such as Grand Designs.

The number of agriculture to residential property conversions in England has fallen by a quarter over the past year a due to a lack of funding and developers’ jitters.

The decline has also been attributed to uncertainty following Britain’s decision to leave the EU but more must be done to encourage builders to tackle conversion projects, a spokesman for funding firm Saving Stream said.

A report into the conversion of farm buildings said they had dropped from 563 last spring to 413 earlier this year.

Blame has been lodged at property programmes which often show horror stories including builders forking out thousands of pounds over their original budgets or ending up with buildings that are worlds away from what was intended.

Speaking to The Telegraph on why people are put off, Mandy St John Davey, a property developer, said: ‘I think there has been a cooling-off period recently.

‘A lot of these programmes like Building the Dream are just repeats.’

While David Hollingworth, of London and Country mortgages, added: ‘Anyone seeking the Grand Designs lifestyle might find that it is harder than expected.’

Stephen Bilney and Veronica Whittard were left with a ramshackle barn after a seven-year building nightmare ruined their dreams of a Grand Designs-style home.

The couple bought the Grade-II listed barn on Ty-Anon Farm for £160,000 in 2009.

They planned to turn the dilapidated barn into a dream home, featuring exposed beams, huge windows and high-tech glass which turn opaque at the touch of a button.

But seven years after buying the barn, the building in Taynton, Gloucestershire, still looks like a shell.

The couple say they have been beset by a string of problems – including drainage and land disputes – which means they have struggled to get the project off the ground.

A recent planning committee which discussed the project became heated when locals claimed the couple had no intention of completing the project and had turned the site into an eyesore.

But officials decided to give the pair two more years to finish the barn, ordering them to make substantial inroads over the next 12 months.


The Guardian

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