Barn conversion plans at St Osyth Priory tipped for approval

St Osyth Priory

St Osyth Priory - Credit: Archant

Plans to convert a Grade II*-listed barn at St Osyth Priory have been recommended for approval by council officers.

The Sargeant family, which owns the Grade I-listed priory, have applied to Tendring District Council (TDC) to convert the tithe barn, dairy and cart shed into a multi-use centre for conferences, venues, information point, shop and cafe.

A number of proposals for the priory, including demolishing some of the buildings and creating homes and a new visitor centre, are set to be heard by a planning inspector in an inquiry beginning on January 13.

However planning officers at TDC have said this latest application can still be heard without prejudicing the inspector.

They have also recommended the plans, and application for listed building consent, are approved as they fit in with planning policy and will allow the barn to be repaired and reused rather than being lost.

A report to the council’s planning committee says: “The proposed works, although carefully designed, would detract from the special character of both the buildings and the landscape.

“However, as the works provide for the repair and reuse of these important buildings the works are largely necessary to secure this and the proposal would therefore be broadly consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework’s objectives in respect of the historic environment.

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“Both the applications are therefore recommended for approval.”

English Heritage, commenting on the application, said: “Although we would usually caution against the conversion of a barn of this quality, in the context of the Priory conversion would seem appropriate, as it would enable the repair and reuse of an important but little used building, while precluding the need for the construction of a substantial new building within the precinct or wider landscape.”

St Osyth Parish Council said it wanted to see more detail before commenting in full, but raised concerns about coach access and increased traffic in the village.

The plans will be debated by TDC’s planning committee at a meeting from 6pm on Tuesday January 6 at the authority’s Weeley offices.

An application for outline planning permission to build 190 homes at the Priory has not yet been determined by TDC.

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