The barn at Church Farm, Cregneash should be demolished agreed independent inspector Anthony Wharton.
The plan (14/01377/B for demolition of the existing steel frame barn, removal of hard standing, reinstatement with grass and mesh) was submitted by Manx National Heritage because the barn is structurally unsound.
Approval was granted, but Rushen Parish Commissioners brought the decision to appeal, saying demolition should not be allowed unless a new farm building is provided and there is concern that the land would be used as a car park.
Mr Wharton said that MNH stresses Church Farm is not a commercial farm and the barn is not just dangerous, it is not required for agricultural purposes.
Their historic machinery is stored elsewhere and there is no need currently to house animals at Church Farm. He said there is ‘no firm evidence to suggest that the steel framed building or any replacement is required for agricultural purposes at Church Farm’. MNH intends to continue using Cregneash for agricultural demonstrations as it has previously.
Regarding car parking, MNH ‘categorically stated’ it has no intention of using the land for either visitor or staff parking. Such a use would require a separate application to be submitted.
He said from structural reports it is evident the barn is ‘in a most dangerous and dilapidated state’. It cannot be repaired, as the commissioners initially hoped, and should be demolished ‘as a matter of urgency’.
He said it ‘detracts markedly from the character and appearance of this part of Cregneash’.
The village is a proposed conservation area and retaining the barn ‘would neither preserve nor enhance its character or appearance’. Its removal ‘would remove what can only be described as an “eyesore” within this historic environment whilst accepting that the 40 to 50 year old agricultural building might be one of the few of its type remaining, I do not share the commissioners’ views that it should be retained or replaced.’
Minister Richard Ronan agreed with Mr Wharton’s recommendation, the appeal was dismissed and approval of the plan confirmed.