It is important to understand that different councils have different views on barn conversions, so it would be a good idea to check whether they have published specific general guidance notes on barns and conversions in general, bearing in mind that if the barn is a ‘listed’ building that this will create an additional set of issues.
A barn without any planning permission poses you a full set of problems. This is due to the rash of unsympathetic conversions in the middle to late 1900’s. Nowadays planning authorities prefer to see barns used for non-residential purposes. Possibly as craft shops, rural community resources, or for light industrial use.
The bias against residential conversion is mainly because the modern conservationists believe the other possible uses don't need major alterations and preserve the original structure, which is their main concern. Can I get planning permission from an old ruin? So if you happen fall in love with that crumbling old rustic ruin, we would say: Don't part with a penny before you talk to the local planning office. The most important thing to consider is planning permission! Go down to the council with some pictures and ask them before you buy it how they would regard a conversion.
Usually a council planning department will ask you to get an architect or surveyor to draw up plans and submit them for consideration. They probably won't give you a definitive answer before that happens.
The process of getting barn conversion planning permission to convert a barn or any other rural building may be stymied as the result of surveys you may be required to carry out. These can be for endangered species like newts, barn owls or bats. Even plant life is under consideration in some areas of the country! You don’t want to get tied up with a possible Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) ‘problem’ which can become very involved. Oh! And that is not mentioning environmental assessments and contamination reports or archaeological reports. Barn converting can be a very time-consuming business.
There are things that planners will generally not allow anyway