I have a courtyard garden where the clients’ requirements can only be met by quite a substantial shade structure. Although the garden as a whole is large the courtyard is the only private space they have and it’s currently unusable – it has buildings on three sides, is south facing and gets VERY hot. Unfortunately the property is a converted barn and listed (as a result of the neighbouring farmhouse being listed before the barns were sold for development). This means that we need planning permission for structures, features, internal walls, etc.
I initially spoke face-to-face with a senior conservation officer who didn’t have any objections to the proposed scheme and suggested I submit a request for an initial assessment (an informal view from the planning & conservation teams before a full planning application is made). They eventually made an unaccompanied site visit and gave feedback, which was very negative.
We have so far submitted two proposals, which they strongly dislike for different reasons, but they seem unwilling or unable to provide constructive comments. We get statements like, “It’s too big”, with no indication of what maximum size they might consider, and, so far, they have refused to answer direct questions (e.g. does it have to be central?). They have also refused to conduct an accompanied site visit to discuss alternatives.
It takes several weeks to get a response to each new suggestion and I can see a situation where a string of proposals, each smaller than the last, are all rejected until it finally becomes clear they won’t allow anything that meets the clients' requirements - a point we could get to very quickly if they would only engage in a dialogue.
Has anyone had any dealings with planners regarding building a new structure in the garden of a listed building? Can anyone suggest how else we might proceed?
I would appreciate any comments as I feel like I'm banging my head against that proverbial brick wall (which I mustn't touch because it's listed)!
P.S. The structure only needs PP because of the listing - it would be Permitted Development otherwise.