Following extensive consultation with the local community, planning approval has been secured for the sympathetic redevelopment of a collection of vacant farm buildings at Root Farm in the village of Dunsop Bridge, Lancashire.

The proposals include the replacement of an old steel-framed asbestos shed with four smaller new build units and the conversion of redundant brick-built farm buildings to create flexible workspaces for local businesses. The new workspaces will be supported by communal services including a kitchen, WCs, showers, a meeting room and adequate parking provision. The design also allows for the inter-linking of individual units, providing flexible spaces of varying sizes capable of expanding or contracting to reflect local needs.

Responses from extensive community consultations held in 2020 and 2021 have helped shape the proposals which are designed to provide much-needed employment opportunities in the heart of this rural village in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  

Commenting on the granting of planning permission by Ribble Valley Borough Council, Duchy Head of Rural Development Lara Thompson said: “We are delighted that the Council has granted planning permission for these proposals. Dunsop Bridge sits within the Duchy’s Whitewell Estate and is part of the Forest of Bowland, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Duchy is keen to support the local community by bringing forward development proposals that will help to make the village more sustainable and improve local employment opportunities. The redevelopment of Root Farm is a key element of a long-term vision for Dunsop Bridge which we believe will protect it for future generations.”

The proposed redevelopment at Root Farm sits within the footprint of the existing buildings and surrounding hardstanding and structures that form part of the original steading. Some of the existing buildings will be repaired and made wind and watertight in the first instance and will only be brought back into use if there is sufficient local community demand for more space.

“We have been very clear that any redevelopment at Dunsop Bridge must be fully supported by the community,” adds Lara. “Our primary objective in submitting these proposals for planning is to provide local residents, businesses and visitors with a range of facilities and services that enhance the local area and improve the quality of life of its inhabitants.”

The Duchy of Lancaster has also submitted an application for the redevelopment of the redundant former garage site in the centre of the village to create a vibrant new community hub.