A masterplan can provide the context within which the detailed design of individual buildings and spaces can be considered. It can help inform a design brief for the site and can demonstrate to local planning authorities, the High Weald AONB Unit and other agencies that proper consideration has been given to conserving the distinctive landscape character of the Weald.
Using the site assessment as a base plan, options for the future use of the site can then be analysed against the principles for guiding change and against the policy context for historic farmsteads.
A farmstead-scale understanding of character is fundamental to master planning, as whole groups of buildings and the spaces around them can present very different capacities for change depending, for example, upon whether they are tightly packed around a yard or widely dispersed along a routeway.
The nature of the buildings - their form, hierachy, design detail, materials and how they relate to each other and the spaces and landscape around them - will help inform how they face the tracks; the nature of the elevations presented to the landscape; and an understanding of the capacity for redesign or new build and the form it might take.
The plan form of the farmstead provides clues to the key characteristics of the farmstead. A basic understanding of the historic nature of the movement and flow of animals and products in, out and round the site helps to identify important routes, access points and circulation areas.
Watch an animation of the Historic movement of animals and crops around a farmstead
Government Policy (PPS1) recommends that planning policies and planning decisions should be based on up-to-date information on the environmental characteristics of the area; the potential environmental impacts of development and recognition of the limits of the environment to accept further development without irreversible damage. These issues are of particular importance in protected landscapes such as AONBs. A good masterplan provides evidence that character and environmental resources have been properly considered in any development.