New guest cottage for a listed building in Carnforth

We replaced disused outbuildings in a rural conservation area with a new-build, separate guest wing for a grade-II listed home. It is also fully accessible for wheelchair users.


We designed a new-build guest cottage to replace disused, dilapidated outbuildings within the grounds of a grade-II listed home, as a detached single-storey annexe to the main house, with careful consideration of the rural conservation area setting and village vernacular.

The cottage has been built in line with planning permission conditions, listed building consent and building regulations compliance (all approved); and is also fully accessible for wheelchair users, including access to the garden and other outdoor areas. Construction was completed in October 2018.

The owners of a former village courthouse wished to create new guest accommodation at their home, without disturbing the grade II-listed structure of their 17th-century main house. They asked us to look at repurposing the site of the neglected outbuildings within their plot, which had been built during the mid-20th century and had fallen into disrepair.

Our clients requested residential accommodation to incorporate living space, sleeping quarters and shower room facilities, in a style to complement the main house, garden and rural views. Wheelchair access was essential, to allow disabled and elderly relatives and friends to visit; and also to prepare for the clients’ own long-term future in the property. We were required to consider carefully the development’s location on a constrained site within a conservation area, using appropriate construction methods and materials.

They wished to maintain the L-shaped layout of the existing outbuildings – as they liked the courtyard that this created upon entry to the property – and also wanted to retain the line of a historic garden wall. Furthermore, they were keen to achieve a traditional look that was in keeping with the original house, but with contemporary touches; particularly the interior styling.

We designed an attractive yet practical structure that includes:

  • Wheelchair access and turning space throughout, for visitors with special needs
  • A living space with glazed doors onto a patio, maximising the view over the garden and fields beyond
  • A pitched roof, constructed using internally exposed timbers and metal ties
  • A kitchen area within the living space, for guest convenience – including a small seating area with a window onto the garden
  • A wet room with an accessible toilet, basin and shower
  • A large double bedroom to accommodate a king-sized bed (or two single beds) and utility cupboard
  • An entrance across the courtyard from the main house, for easy access with a ‘separate’ feel
  • Provision for a wood-burning stove in the living area, with a flue on the least-visible side of the property
  • Externally, a tool shed, to maintain existing facilities

We were required to:

  • Work closely with the local authority to secure planning permission, listed building consent and building regulations compliance; then ensure that specified conditions were met
  • Liaise with the structural engineer, ecology consultant, the main building contractor and specialist local tradespeople
Our planning application included detailed plans and elevations, along with a heritage statement to address issues raised by the development’s location within a conservation area (and position beside a grade-II-listed building). It was subsequently approved by the local authority.

Following the design process and approval of a planning application and listed building consent, we produced detailed technical drawings and specifications and submitted these as part of a Full Plans Building Regulations Application in July 2017, which was also then approved. Following submission, we communicated in detail with the local authority Building Control Surveyor, working through conditions such as lintel loading and strength, mechanical ventilation, water drainage, level landing and clearance to the entrance door and electrical installation (the contractor engaged a Part-P-certified professional for the latter).

Demolition of the existing outbuildings was undertaken in October 2017, then following groundworks, the project was paused until spring 2018. After building work recommenced, the project was completed in October 2018, followed by a final inspection in early 2019 (the completion certificate was issued on 27 February 2019).

Despite being fully wheelchair accessible, the cottage does not look or feel like a clinical environment and is a relaxing, attractive space in which to enjoy the conservation area. 

Both able-bodied and disabled users can move easily between the courtyard entry (which has space for two cars to park safely), the hallway and all rooms, then beyond to the patio and multi-levelled garden. It also presents an ideal model for expanding and ageing families, demonstrating that independence and home ownership can be maintained in a self-contained environment.

The cottage enhances the setting of the adjacent listed building and, more widely, the conservation area in the historic Yorkshire village of Burton-in-Lonsdale.  

The completed structure:

  • Has been achieved in line with all statutory requirements including planning permission conditions (including consideration of the conservation area and bats), listed building consent and building regulations
  • Makes a suitable and attractive companion for the listed main building of the plot, complementing the latter’s historical and local context
  • Is fully accessible for wheelchair users
  • Is comfortable, convenient, robust and ergonomic, securing the clients’ future in their home
  • Has made excellent use of space previously occupied by disused, dilapidated outbuildings
  • Also meets every other point of the client’s original brief
  • Was constructed within a year (including demolition of the previous outbuildings) and adhered to the original budget agreed, for the central elements of the build (some additional construction services were requested by the client during the process)