In the press 


The partners of Heaton & Partners are widely quoted in the press as prime residential property experts. Below is a selection of comments that have been featured in the national and international press: 

"In rural Sussex, a pretty period cottage would list for $725,000 to $850,000, estimates Charlie Warner of Heaton and Partners. For a family home, expect to pay at least $1.44 million."
The Wall Street Journal, 18 February 2016, Sussex, England Lures Celebrity Home Buyers

"Go for sanity not vanity" says property search expert Edward Heaton, of Heaton and Partners. "Set a sensible initial guide price to generate interest from the start."
The Times: Bricks & Mortar, 5 February 2016, How to sell your home this Spring

Not everyone is convinced that the investment interest from Asia is being well channeled. Edward Heaton, from Heaton & Partners cautioned Asian investors against investing in prime central London property market off plan. At present, in anticipation of the city's growing population of high-net-worth individuals, 54,000 new homes priced at £1 million or more have either been planned or are under construction. Given the difficulty overseas buyers face in understanding the market and postcode demographics in London, Heaton felt that some may be misled into investing in peripheral but expensively priced locations. "If the UK residential market were to remain at the top, it is important for people to be informed of the exact details where they are buying," Heaton said.
EJInsight, 9 December 2015, London and beyond: Chinese investment in British properties

"There will be an inevitable rush of people trying to secure buy-to-let properties before next April, although, this has to be in the context that the changes to the tax review have already made buy-to-lets a less attractive proposition to those with mortgages. It is as if the Chancellor is trying to help control house prices but, in doing so, is going to create an ever shrinking housing stock for rental. In terms of second homes, the devil will be in the detail to some extent. For example, someone who buys a new home, without having sold their existing one first, may be liable to the 3% surcharge. Even if there is an allowance for some cross over, what happens if the property they have bought needs extensive building work, so that they cannot move in for a year? Also, what happens if you own a share in a small holiday home in Cornwall, and then buy a large house as your principle private residence in London or the south east? Will this be classified as a second home? I suspect this new legislation will either be punitive or there will be plenty of loopholes for those who wish to play around with their elected principal private residence."
Prime Resi, 25 November 2015, Autumn Statement: Prime property industry reactions

The crowd is different to the Knightsbridge pack. "Would the One Hyde Park buyer look at Holland Park? Possibly not - it's horses for courses." The difference is family. "If you want to do some serious entertaining and come home to a community, that's much more Holland Park," says Holloway. 
The Telegraph Property, 7 November 2015, Old money, new allure for a well-kept secret

Buying agency Heaton & Partners has launched a prime property management service for clients across the Home Counties and London. The new service, which offers everything from staff recruitment to grounds maintenance, is headed up by Pippa Hawksfield, who's been with the firm almost since it launched two-and-a-half years ago. Edward Heaton, founder of Heaton & Partners states, "After much demand from current clients we decided to launch our property management service this year. Clients love the hassle-free lifestyle that the property management service provides, particularly those living abroad, relocating or with especially busy lifestyles. Every client has a completley bespoke package, suiting their needs. This can vary from management of the entire household, to garden maintenance to simply a key holding service."
Prime Resi, 23 October 2015, Heaton & Partners launches property management service

Gilly Holloway, of Heaton & Partners property search agency, says ideally a house should have both [shower and a bath] and has found that a woman is more likely to pull out of a sale if there is no bath, whereas a male buyer would still go ahead. But for those who are still keen on keeping the bath, even if it is just to hang the towel on while you shower, what is the latest trend? "Young people tend to love showers - the stronger and hotter the better," says Holloway. "It must be powerful, large, and long lasting, but in these days of green it can be hard to achieve without some cheating in the form of powerful pumps.
The Daily Mail, 16 October 2015, Techno lights, rain settings, soothing scents - these showers will do more than wake you up in the morning

 

Gilly Holloway, from Heaton & Partners search agency, is similarly doubtful about just how swayed buyers will be by having a high-end fashion house on board. "It can certainly add desirability to a property for fash-pack types, it's attention-grabbing and will get people through the door. But I wouldn't agree that it's a deciding factor for people when choosing a property," says Holloway. "There will usually be a large mark-up for these properties and buyers need to make sure they're not paying over the odds just for the brand."
The Telegraph Luxury, 6 October 2015, Fashion Houses

"Currently, our website gets more hits from the Middle East than anywhere else as buyers continue to turn to the UK for investment and second home ownership," says Gilly Holloway of Heaton & Partners, a property buying agency.
Gulf News, 7 September 2015, London remains a safe haven

Holland Park stretches west from Notting hill Gate and consists of a grid of streets lined with stucco-fronted town-houses. Many have internal spaces of up to 10,000sq ft and can boast values of £10m to £50m. Some also have gardens backing on to Holland Park itself, a 22-hectare space with landscaping, sports facilities, a Japanese garden and summer opera. “The footprint of houses [here] is wider and deeper than most of central London, they have a majestic street presence and gardens are generally bigger, some with mews (former stables),” says Gilly Holloway of buying agency Heaton & Partners. 
Financial Times, FT House and Home, 29 August 2015, Room with a mews

"As with all things, the devil is in the detail, it is all very well publishing a list of properties owned by offshore companies and structures, but it is a very different thing getting to the bottom of who the ultimate beneficial owner is. I can't see how the government will ultimately be able to overcome this obstacle when such structures exist, in a large part, to protect the beneficial owners identity. If the government succeeds in being able to identify who the ultimate owner of a property is, then this really could have a fundamental effect on the property market in London. I don't think it would be an over exaggeration to say that the London property market is probably one of the biggest destinations of money laundering in the world." Says Edward Heaton, Heaton & Partners
Prime Resi, 29 July 2015, Cameron's 'Dirty Money' Shakedown: Prime property industry reactions

Ed Heaton, Heaton & Partners said "London is fast becoming a larger scale Monaco, a playground and an attractive destination for the super-rich. George Osborne needs to ensure that they make a significant enough contribution without taxing them out of the UK altogether."
The Negotiator, August 2015, Osborne's big budget hits home

"I think this is a positive and refreshing move by George Osborne. Inheritance tax has been stuck in a time warp for far too long whilst the elderley have increasingly been required to squander thier savings and assets in their old age to pay for the failings of the state, which they generously supported in the past. This goes some way to redressing the balance. The changes to mortgage tax relief for buy-to-let landlords will particularly hit those owning properties in prime central London, where the sums involved are very high and the yields extremely low. Notwithstanding this, if one accepts the Bank of England's arguments, then the proposed changes are probably a proportional response to the issue. It might even help release a little more prime stock in central London to the market in the next year or so, although this might be wishful thinking." Ed Heaton, Heaton & Partners
Prime Resi, 8 July 2015, #Budget2015: Prime property industry reactions to Btl, Non Dom and IHT changes

"It remains much more affordable than the towns and villages dotted along the coastline" says Edward Heaton, of Heaton & Partners property search agency. "Indeed some towns such as Bodmin, Launceston, Wadebridge and Camborne, are not not expensive at all and prices there can be more reflective of those in the North of England."
The Times - Bricks & Mortar, 15 May 2015, Cornish property market benefits from the Poldark effect

"As a result of this year's General Election I expect that prime country house prices could rise by as much as 10% within weeks. There will be bun fights in the next few weeks for the best houses which come to the market as confidence in the top-end of the regional market returns. For many operating in the prime property market, there is a palpable sense of relief at the Election outcome as there were some genuine concerns about the possible impact of Mansion Tax tied in with the attack of non-doms proposed by Labour."
Prime Resi, 8 May 2015, 'The property market will now go crazy' - and other prime resi reactions to a Conservative triumph

However, Edward Heaton, of Heaton & Partners search agency, pointed out that the headline figures only tell part of the story, "In London, for example, there may indeed have been an 11.3% increase in greater London over the last year, but in prime central London prices have actually dropped," he said.
Property Wire, 30 April 2015, Property prices in England and Wales down 0.8%, latest official figures show

"In a typical year 60-70% of what we buy is off-market and the higher value you go the less likely it is that a property will be on the open market...These secret deals are effectively becoming the norm at the top end of the market in both London and the country, I would also say that buyers who don't have an agent acting for them are becoming seriously disadvantaged in the marketplace".
Prime Resi, 24 April 2015, The Off-Market Switch: Buyers forced to dig deep as prime properties go underground

Edward Heaton, of the Heaton & Partners property search agency, remembers a client who walked away from buying a house in Hampshire "with stunning gardens" beacuse the sellers were employing five full-time gardeners. "They couldn't justify the expense but also couldn't come to terms with destroying such a beautiful creation in order to reduce the maintenance costs". 
The Times -  Bricks & Mortar, 24 April 2015, What do buyers love the most? A garden

Edward Heaton from Heaton & Partners property search agency said: "Extra funding for new homes and the 20 new housing zones will be a relief in the UK. Any building that takes place on brown field sites, rather than in open countryside must be welcome. Extra funding for new homes willl not completely solve the housing crisis, however it is a good start, and after all Rome wasn't built in a day."
Property Wire, 19 March 2015, New UK housing zones widely welcomed

Gilly Holloway reports: "I forecast that in 2015, the prime London market is going to plateau as estate agents struggle to achive some of the over-inflated prices being asked..."
Prime Resi, 16 March 2015, Heaton expands in London with new partner and a Knightsbridge office

Helen Rhodes, at the buying agent Heaton & Partners, says: "Very few of the properties in these villages are old and scruffy - most of them have been refurbished and extended, so if you are looking for a project, this isn't the best place to buy."
The Times, Bricks & Mortar, 13 March 2015, The enduring appeal of the happy valley 

Buying agent Edward Heaton, of Heaton & Partners, said he had only seen a "modest" increase in the number of international owners looking to sell and move on in order to avoid the new tax. "The reality is that London remains an attractive destination and the cost of buying and selling are just something that people live with".
Wall Street Journal, 13 February 2015, U.K. closes a tax gap for foreign owners

"Many barn conversions are dark, small rooms with sloping ceilings and badly placed beams on which to crack your head. Often it would have been better to retain just one amazing room with a wow factor."
The Daily Telegraph Property, 7 February 2015, Not houses- but certainly homes

"Houses on the river at Henley are like hen's teeth, so regardless of risk, they sell well. A cash buyer spending millions on a house can make their own decisions. In the immediate aftermath most clients talked about flooding - 12 months on, it's rarely mentioned," says Edward Heaton.
The Daily Telegraph Property, 17 January 2015, What a difference a year makes

"Buyers at the top end will eventually take it on the chin. Unwelcome as this news might be to those of us in the industry, I don't think this will make London and the UK any less attractive to international buyers whilst wealthy British buyers will also come to terms with it," says Edward Heaton
Prime Resi, 3 December 2014, Autumn Statement

Heaton & Partners property search agency said: "This is dramatic increase and is likely to further stifle what has already been a subdued market at the very top end this year."
Property Week, 3 December 2014, Government reveals dramatic overhaul of stamp duty

"In some areas there's a lot of unsold stock and desperate sellers. We've achieved a discount of 33 per cent off the original guide price for a property in Hampshire," says Edward Heaton.
Daily Telegraph Property, 10 November 2014, Opportunity knocks for house buyers

"I have lived in the West Country for 15 years and in my experience the majoirty of locals appreciate the contribution that second-home owners make to the economy," says Edward Heaton.
Daily Telegraph Property, 13 September 2014, Second homes the harmonious way

"Buy for yourself not others. I've helped people move to follow children and grandchildren. They gave up a network of friends and neighbours, but then their families relocated because of work," says Edward Heaton.
The Sunday Times, 31 August 2014, On a silver platter

"I've noticed a big increase in the number of buyers from BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries looking much farther from London than you would've historically expected, including Hampshire and Dorset,' explains Mr Heaton.
Country Life, 9 July 2014, If an Englishman's home is his castle...

"It is commonplace to hear agents talk about the Four Ds - death, debt, divorce and downsizers," says Edward Heaton, of Heaton & Partners. "Nearly 20% of our new clients this year are downsizers - the largest proportion I can remember."
The Sunday Times Home, 29 June 2014, Downsizers on the up

"The property should be well aired, with good old free, fresh air," recommends property buying agent Karen Goodin of Heaton & Partners. "Beyond that, smells such as freshly brewed coffee or bread and cake being cooked make a property seem homley. Plants such as lavender, honeysuckle and jasmine also give off lovely scents and you could also burn essential oils."
Woman & Home, 12 May 2014, Scents that sell your home

"I am a complete convert to new-build neo-Georgin country houses," says real estate agent Edward Heaton of Heaton & Partners. "They have many of the classic features of an old house yet are fantastically efficient, cost a fraction of the price to run, and can provide owners with many years of effortless maintenace.
Wall Street Journal, 8 May 2014, The rise of faux Georgian-style homes in England

"I do not expect the proposed changes to stamp duty rules for people buying in corporate vehicles to have any significant impact on the residential market. It will not affect the volume of buyers in the marketplace, rather they will simply find other ways to best structure their purchases."
Prime Resi, 19 March 2014, Budget 2014: Reactions

"An office in a loft or extension definitely makes a house easier to sell," says Edward Heaton of buying agency Heaton & Partners. "But be cautious about using a bedroom it can give the impression to buyers who lack imagination that the house is short of bedrooms."
The Property Mail, 24 January 2014, Homework club

"Their value can be diminished by as much as 20 per cent," says Edward Heaton of Heaton & Partners.
The Property Mail, 17 January 2014, After the flood

Ed Heaton, of Heaton and Partners, sums up the attractions: “We have noticed that as parts of Surrey become ever more developed and suburban so demand for houses in what I would describe as ‘proper countryside’ are increasingly sought-after. The demand has helped to push prices up in Sussex where good country houses for sale are like hen’s teeth in many areas. “Typically, buyers are also more likely to be British in comparison to in Surrey, where the upper market is now full of international buyers.”
The Sunday Express, 17 November 2013, Out of the shadows
 
“I have seen a marked increase in gazumping this year at the top end of the country house market,” says Edward Heaton of Heaton & Partners. “What has been unusual is that houses which have sat for several months suddenly find themselves with two or three prospective buyers. It often begs the question why the buyers didn’t get on and try to secure the house earlier, rather than waiting until someone else makes a bid. It’s almost as if they need the reassurance that someone else likes the house. Inevitably this leads to one or more parties being disappointed."
The Telegraph, 9 November 2013, Ready steady gazump

"A few years back one my clients inherited a well-stocked and rather valuable wine cellar," says Edward Heaton of Heaton & Partners. “The vendor a widow, decided to leave behind her late husband’s collection. She was teetotal and just not interested in it. Needless to say, the new owners were delighted when the contents of the wine cellar were included in the selling price."
The Daily Mail, 18 October 2013, Vend it like Beckham

The St George’s Hill development in Surrey, the first gated community in the UK, has seen prices increase by 5.6 per cent in the last year alone, says Edward Heaton of the buying agency Heaton and Partners. He says his company website currently gets more hits from the Middle East than anywhere else. “Middle Eastern money is starting to ripple out to the countryside as buyers recognise the value for money, which can be achieved out of prime central London enclaves,” he says.
Gulf News, 17 October 2013, Emiratis buying into UK regions

Baby, it’s cold outside. So, huddling round a scorching wood-burning stove is de rigueur this season, according to property-finder Edward Heaton of Heaton and Partners. “Wood-burners are a real asset to any house in a town or out in the country. They’re clean, and these days, fit into almost any style of property. They’re also child-friendly, and self-cleaning glass makes them both practical and attractive,” he says. Heaton’s seen some really funky wood-burners, and especially loves those situated in the middle of a room where the chimney-flue flue runs up through the core of a home.He cautions that you’ll need to get your flue properly lined and capped, which can add thousands to the installation cost. “Often, the wood-burner itself isn’t the biggest cost of having one fitted.”
Prime Location, 17 October 2013, The great British bake off
 
"In this unusual market pricing becomes a nightmare for selling agents and vendors alike,” says Edward Heaton, of property consultancy Heaton & Partners. “Be wary of what appear to be inflated prices. Greedy vendors and bullish agents do the market no favours.” ...Edward Heaton adds: “Too long before an offer and the buying public see the house as compromised. The eventual selling price is often significantly less than if the right price had been asked in the first place.”... “Underpricing has historically been a good way of generating interest with a view to pushing the price higher through competing bids” says Edward Heaton. “This often still works but is in no way guaranteed. It becomes a gamble for the seller. If you quote approximately 10 per cent below the average value, but only get one interested party, do you hold out in the hope of someone else with a higher offer? In this market a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
The Times - Bricks & Mortar , 11 October 2013, The secrets of kerb appeal

"I dealt with some clients from London who bought a lovely house in the Cotswolds" says Edward Heaton, founder of Heaton & Partners, a property finding agency." However, after living there full-time for a few months they found that they were living in a ghost town - except at the weekend, when their village was flooded with coachloads of tourists. After a year they upped sticks and moved to Hampshire." 
The Sunday Times - Home, 6th October 2013, Lands of Glory  

"Many in the industry would argue that if a house hasn't sold by the time it appears on the open market, then there is something wrong with it," says Ed Heaton, Home Counties search agent at Heaton & Partners. "Sellers of the best houses are now actively choosing to sell like this rather than go to the open market, because of the perceived benefits in doing so. There is a lot of psychology to the off-market approach." 
The Times - Bricks & Mortar, 28 June 2013, Shhhh! I'm selling (but don't tell anyone)
 
"Sellers of the best houses are now actively choosing to sell off-market because of the perceived benefits," says Ed Heaton, Managing Director of buying agency Heaton & Partners. "Off-market deals are generally a positive experience for seller and buyer. Bother parties feel that they've achieved something they wouldn't ordinarilly have been able to." 
Estates Gazette: Residential, 1 June 2013, Locked out 

Edward Heaton agrees that a view will help to sell a property, with vendors willing to overlook other faults… But Heaton adds a note of caution, and one that will be particularly pertinent to communities fighting the development of wind farms across the UK. “A bad view can have an even more detrimental effect on value,” he says. “A view of pylons, a power station or some other blot on the landscape has been known to knock as much as 25% off a property’s value.”
The Times, 28 September 2012, The visible difference a view makes
 
Some say the planning process is getting easier. Edward Heaton says local authorities have become more realistic about the future use of historic but redundant buildings. “Over the last few decades there have been plenty of examples of amazing buildings sitting empty for years as agreement couldn’t be reached. This doesn’t seem to be so much the case now, but it doesn’t guarantee that all good buildings will be sought after as much still depends on where they are located.” Others will be drawn to the history associated with these buildings. “As a nation we have always been fascinated by knowing the history of our homes and owning a piece of Britain’s wartime history will always be a draw” says Heaton
The Financial Times, 15 September 2012, Beyond barracks
 
“The vast majority of sellers go out of their way to make sure they leave their houses immaculate for the new owners, but there is a small, sadly growing, minority who leave their houses in a truly shocking state.” explains Heaton. “We always try and insert a clause that we have a pre-completion inspection, so if the house isn’t as it should be we can try and withhold monies to set it right,” add Mr Heaton.
Country Life, 1 August 2012, More than you bargained for
 
But despite the undoubted benefits of buying a wreck, there are pitfalls too. “The margin between the price of a beautifully presented house and one that is unmodernised or in need of renovation is narrower than at any time I can recall.” Edward Heaton warns. “In the country-house market it is rare for someone to be able to buy a house and then renovate it and for the finished value to be greater than the sum of the two – and this is before moving costs are taken into consideration.”
The Times, 13 July 2012, The rise and rise of wrecks appeal
 
“Naff names are the biggest turn off,” says Edward Heaton. “I know a man who has just bought a house called Kendor, which was named after the former owners, Ken and Doreen. I told them to ditch the name.”
Daily Mail, 22 June 2012, Play the name game!
 
A cheaper (if less elegant) finish would be to mix the gravel with some tar to hold it in place. This can always be used on sloping driveways, adds Edward Heaton.
Country Life, 20 June 2012, Choosing the right approach
 
Edward Heaton believes that “the best outdoor entertaining spaces are right beside the house, so they can effectively become an extension of the kitchen or drawing room.” This has several advantages: it creates a natural flow to your party, makes it easier to serve food ad drinks and provides a welcome shelter in case of rain.”
Country Life, 13 June 2012, Poolhouse, party barn or private cricket pitch?
 
Many agents consider Oxfordshire Henley – Marlow to be the most sought after stretch of the Thames. “Owners of waterside homes here enjoy a thriving social calendar, often gliding down the river on their launches to enjoy an early evening gin and tonic in each others’ gardens.” says Edward Heaton
The Financial Times, 12 June 2012, You can bank on it
 
You need to be a genuine enthusiast, birder or nature lover to buy a watermill. Buying agents, not always alert to the poetry in them, warn people of the pitfalls. “Mill conversions are very easy to get wrong and difficult to get right.” says Edward Heaton. “Far too many are dark, dingy, damp, a complete turn off in my book.”
The Sunday Telegraph, 13 May 2012, Run of The Mill?

“Potholes can present a big problem when you’ve got a privately owned road or driveway” says professional homefinder Edward Heaton. “Clients can be put off buying a property when they find out that the cost of maintaining a road will fall on their shoulders, or will have to be shared between them and their neighbours. It can be an exorbitantly expensive business.”
The Daily Telegraph, 31 March 2012, The holey terrors on our streets
 
Knowing who actually lived in your home will bring it to life. “The more colourful and interesting the history, the better,” says Edward Heaton, a search agent. “People love to hear stories about their house, whether it is a famous or infamous former owner, or even a gruesome ending.”
The Times, 30 March 2012, Is your house harbouring a secret past?
 
“Anyone trading London for the country is effectively 25% better off now than 12 months ago” says Edward Heaton. “We have seen evidence of country buyers moving further from London, especially when they can work from home for some of the week. It is not uncommon for part-weekly commuters to live at least two hours from London.”
The Sunday Times, 26 February 2012, Take the long view
 
So is it worth the hassle to keep a house on the market at Christmas? “It certainly can be,” says Ed Heaton a buying agent. “Times are changing, and instead of plonking themselves in front of the television over the holiday period, many people scour the websites looking for a house to buy in the New Year. With fewer houses for sale, you have more chance of getting yours noticed.”
The Daily Mail, 5 December 2011, Gift-wrap your house for a perfect festive sale
 
Self sufficiency is in keeping with the nation’s more frugal mood. But Edward Heaton, a buying agent, has found that most would–be smallholders are driven by a desire to know exactly what they’re eating.. “They like the reassurance that food hasn’t been sprayed with unknown pesticides and that their chickens have lived a happy life.”
Country Life, 25 November 2011, Buying properties with smallholdings
 
Besides, cautions Ed Heaton, the perception that there are lots of desperate sellers who will welcome any offer could not be further from the truth. “Some people need to lose a couple of good houses before they realise that quality still sells well.”
Country Life, 2 November 2011, Managing great expectations
 
Once you have identified a potential project, it pays to proceed with caution. Edward Heaton advises any new owner coming in half way through the build to set out their expectations in detail, from the time frame for completion to the precise specifications – right down to the brand and shade of paint.
The Sunday Times, 16 October 2011, Made to measure country homes
 
This fulfils the three perfect-view requirements of Edward Heaton, experienced housefinder. “First of all, you should be able to see for a distance of at least two miles, but preferably between 10 and 20,” he says. “Next you want as all-round a view as you can get, definitely 180 degrees, and ideally 360. Finally, the view should be as natural as possible, with a minimum number of man-made structures. These days that includes wind turbines.”…. Speaking of which, Edward Heaton has a theory that prices are more affected by ugly views than pretty ones. “I’d say a good view adds only 10 per cent to the value,” he says. “But a bad view can reduce it by as much as 25%.”
The Daily Telegraph, 13 August 1011, Postcard-perfect with a view to a sale
 
“The area has big houses down leafy lanes.” says Ed Heaton. “It appeals to people moving out of London who want to feel they have neighbours nearby.” Heaton believes the blaze of publicity will soon evaporate and the area will revert to being discretely prosperous.
The Sunday Telegraph, 17 April 2011, Royal Berkshire
 
For every purchaser who sees a public right of way as a bonus, like the client who recently asked buying agent Ed Heaton to find him a house with a footpath nearby, as the family were keen walkers, dozens of others perceive it as a threat to privacy and security.
Country Life, 7 March 2011, Buying property and rights of way
 
“You need to think long and hard whether an orange glow at night is going to bother you. There’s a classic Georgian house coming to the market shortly near a large Wiltshire town. A few miles to the south and this would be a real gem, but because of issues with light pollution it may prove hard to sell. The price should reflect this,” says Ed Heaton.
The Daily Telegraph, 29 June 2010, Must-haves for home buyers: a dark sky
 
“It’s significantly more difficult to obtain planning permission to convert a barn for residential use, as planning policy now dictates that all uses that may potentially generate employment must be explored and exhausted before permission will be granted,” warns Edward Heaton.
Country Life, 12 May 2010, The power of the annexe
 
Edward Heaton puts an indoor swimming pool among the top three conversions… Mr Heaton explains that ‘planning policy now dictates that all uses which may potentially generate employment must be explored and exhausted before residential permission will be granted. Indeed, planning is more likely to be approved if the project results in the creation of rural workshops, offices, or even holiday letting units.’… It helps too if the barn is situated close to a house. “if you have a large traditional barn in close proximity to an old house it’s often not appropriate to convert this into something for commercial use, due to the impact it would have on the residential feel of the area,” says Mr Heaton. “In this instance, it is often easier to obtain consent to convert a barn into a games room, swimming pool or squash courts, for example.”… The good news is that ‘people are increasingly finding new ecologically friendly and cost effective ways to heat, light and water converted barns, investing in heat source pumps, solar or water power, borehole and grey water flushing systems,” says Mr Heaton. And a good architect should be at the cutting edge of all this…. Mr Heaton thinks the best course of action is to keep it simple. “For any conversion, try to retain as much of the original bar as is practically possible to maintain the feel and intrinsic charm of the space,” he says. “Avoid cluttering the interior and concentrate on using light colours and soft furnishings. Additionally, make sure you minimise tall trees or anything else that could impact the light coming in.”… Choosing to preserve the barn’s big open spaces is another option that will pay off aesthetically while earning brownie points with the planers. “Some of the very best conversions are all on one floor because they are very light, whereas if you put a first floor in it can feel dark and cramped. Not everyone likes that, but if you want a traditional house then you probably shouldn’t buy a barn.”…. Typically, adds Mr Heaton, “conversion costs tend to be in the region of £200-300 per square foot at the top end of the market. However if there’s an element of restoration involving a specialist stonemason or joiner, the sky’s the limit!”
Country Life, 21 August 2009, How to convert your barn