A PLANNING application submitted by a Buckinghamshire councillor to transform the now vacant offices of a defunct furniture making company has been approved.

The West Buckinghamshire Area Planning Committee on Tuesday, August 18, swiftly accepted Cllr Duncan Smith’s request to convert The Barn in Cutlers Court, Copyground Lane, High Wycombe into a four-bedroom property, each with its own en-suite bathroom.

The decision was hastened along by councillors Marten Clarke and Chris Whitehead who saw no reason to delay turning a “lovely old building into a house”.

The proposal was carried unanimously.

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The Grade II listed former barn, situated in the small “business centre” of Cutlers Court, was until February 2019 the ten-year offices of furniture design firm PJP Interiors Ltd until voluntary liquidation.

Cllr Smith states the building has been unoccupied for approximately 16-18 months.

The two-storey barn was in the late 80s/early 90s converted to office space with eight parking bays as part of a larger development.

Then in 2013, one of the buildings also converted decades before, a former Grade II listed farmhouse, was converted back to residential.

Specifications for the new development include:

  • A sitting room
  • Four double bedrooms, each with en-suite bathrooms
  • A ground floor plant/storeroom
  • An open plan living, dining and kitchen area with separate utility space
  • A first-floor toilet

There will also be the erection of a 1.4-metre-high brick and flint wall.

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Cllr Smith’s proposal falls below the threshold for an affordable housing contribution, according to council documents.

Planning acceptance was also subject to proof that re-use of the site “for employment generating uses, or community facilities, is no longer practicable”.

At the time the planning application was made to the former Wycombe District Council, Cllr Smith was a member of South Buckinghamshire District Council.

“The application was made pre-vesting day (April 1, 2020) so he would not have had to make a declaration at that time,” a spokesperson for Buckinghamshire Council said.