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There's a bar in that barn - farm owner fights off council action over function room

PUBLISHED: 19:00 09 April 2019

A barn in Wicklewood, which has been converted to also be a function room. Picture: South Norfolk Council

A barn in Wicklewood, which has been converted to also be a function room. Picture: South Norfolk Council

South Norfolk Council

A farm owner who put the ‘bar’ in barn by turning one into a function room without planning permission has successfully fought off council enforcement action over it.

A barn in Wicklewood, which has been converted to also be a function room. Picture: South Norfolk CouncilA barn in Wicklewood, which has been converted to also be a function room. Picture: South Norfolk Council

Peter Meacock converted a barn on Church Manor Farm in Wicklewood into a fully functioning events room, complete with a removable dance floor, bar area and toilets, without the knowledge of South Norfolk Council.

After being made aware of two functions that were held at the barn, South Norfolk enforcement officers visited the barn in investigate further.

During this visit they found the barn on the outside to look no different to any other.

The interior also contained many of the things you would expect to find in an ordinary barn - farming machinery, metal railing and hay bales.

A barn in Wicklewood, which has been converted to also be a function room. Picture: South Norfolk CouncilA barn in Wicklewood, which has been converted to also be a function room. Picture: South Norfolk Council

However, they also found a stage, male and female toilets, a bar area and white drapery on the walls and ceilings - 
with matching lanterns to boot.

They were told the barn had been used to host two family events - a wedding and a birthday party - and that no money had changed hands.

The evidence though was enough for the council to take enforcement action against Mr Meacock and order all the changes be reversed.

The council called for Mr Meacock to gut the barn of anything connected with its use as a function room; the bar area, the toilets, showers, kitchen area, stage, dance floor and wall covers.

A barn in Wicklewood, which has been converted to also be a function room. Picture: South Norfolk CouncilA barn in Wicklewood, which has been converted to also be a function room. Picture: South Norfolk Council

They argued that making the space available for functions would compromise its use as an agricultural barn.

However, after Mr Meacock appealed against this action, a planning inspector decided the occasional use for functions would not interfere with the barn’s every day use and quashed the enforcement.

Roy Merrett, the planning inspector who dealt with the case, also granted Mr Meacock permission to use the barn for a maximum of 12 functions a year, such as wedding receptions and parties.

A spokesman for South Norfolk Council said: “We are disappointed to have lost the appeal but look forward to co-operating with Mr Meacock going forward.”

Mr Meacock has been approached for comment.

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