You can’t live in old potting shed, award winner is told

John Williams by his potting shed at Land Farm, Colden.
John Williams by his potting shed at Land Farm, Colden.

THE owner of an award-winning garden who wants to convert a derelict potting shed into a home has been told to think again.

John Williams began redeveloping Land Farm at the head of the picturesque Colden Valley 35 years ago.

His historic home and sculpture garden have featured on radio and television, have been open to the public and have helped promote artists, musicians and charities.

But he and his wife are planning to retire and want their children to preserve all their hard work by living in their 18th century home.

They have drawn up plans to move into a semi-derelict shed which they want to convert into a huge single-storey eco-house.

“The proposal contributes towards regeneration and maintaining rural diversification,” argued Mr William’s architects.

The couple also proposed to restore the nearby mill pond with a view to generating hydro electricity.

But Calderdale Council planning officers have rejected the housing proposal because they doubt that the growing shed can be successfully adapted as the 100ft long four-bedroomed bungalow will be twice the height of the existing building.

There are also questions over the access and drainage arrangements.

“The proposal is arguably disproportionate in scale to the existing building and is not considered to be in a suitable location,” according to Calderdale Council’s head of planning, Geoff Willerton. But Mr Williams says that view is short-sighted and he is likely to appeal.

“When I moved here 47 years ago, nearly every house at this end of the valley was derelict but they have been restored over time and I want to see the transformation completed.

“We want to contribute to that by putting a superb and, I hope, an award-winning building on the footprint of the shed. Our initial talks with the planners were encouraging, so I am a bit surprised at their refusal.”

Land Farm gardens are now open as part of the National Gardens Scheme.