'Britain has finally joined the 21st century,' announced James Trotman, managing director of Fox Trotman Country Living, at a special ceremony to mark the conversion of the last barn in England. 'For too long, these buildings have been eyesores; now they are stylish rural retreats that are sustaining the UK economy through dark times by stimulating local housing markets.'
The barn was one of ten that formerly blighted the landscape in the small Norfolk village of Shotesham. It is believed to have been used to house grain for reasons which are not yet clear and the smells coming from it were described by local home owners as 'a jolly nuisance'.
The other nine are now all occupied by the families senior doctors at the Norwich & Norfolk General Hospital but this one had been overlooked until quite recently, when Fox Trotman responded to an anonymous tip-off. Consultant opthalmologist David Bradley, his wife Victoria and their two children will move in next week.
'It's marvellous fnews or us and the local community,' commented Victoria Bradley. 'For the best part of a year, we were all crowded into a six-bed in Dereham, now we have enough space for us, the 4-by-4, the Morgan and the children, when they are home from boarding school. If they could only put some pavements in around the village, it would be perfect.'
There have been reports in some quarters that an oast house in Kent has yet to be converted into living space. Fox Trotman said that this has yet to be confirmed but if proven correct, they will be ready to act immediately. No barn owls could be reached for comment as the species was declared extinct in February.