Letter: Farm buildings: Palladian pigsties, Baroque barns and metal prefabs

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Sir: Roger Hawkins ('Will farmers build temples? Pigs might fly'; Architecture, 10 March) is perfectly right that a large number of farm buildings are hideous and badly sited, but he might have gone on to say that the majority of local authority offices built since the war designed and approved by planners are equally hideous. So are the majority of buildings funded by government, whether they be occupied by British Rail or water companies. Good design has always cost money and whether it's a farm building partly funded by government grants or a council office, the dead hand of the Treasury prevails.

Mr Hawkins is mistaken about planning law. All new farm buildings over 465 square metres have always required planning permission, and since 1991, planning law has been tightened to include the siting, design and appearance of all buildings, regardless of size.

He also appears not to have heard of the Country Landowners' Association Farm Buildings Award Scheme, which has been running for more than 20 years and has provided some superb examples of how to fit modern buildings into beautiful landscapes.

If Mr Hawkins will join us in promoting the competition, perhaps we can all agree that some of the disasters could be greatly mitigated by the planning of a mere quarter acre of trees that would soon hide some of the goverment- funded mistakes in the countryside. I am afraid the only solution for the council offices is a bulldozer.

Yours faithfully,



Country Landowners Association

London, SW1

10 March