A historic barn given a £2.5million revamp has scooped up a prestigious award after the owners had to fight for seven years to get planning permission.

The Great Barn at Micklefield Hall, Sarratt Road, Saratt, was named as the overall winner of the best restoration of a Grade II listed barn, in the Chilterns Building Design Awards in 2015.

The barn was re-launched as a wedding venue in March following the restoration work.

Project leaders spent seven years trying to get the project off the ground by fighting for planning permission from Three Rivers District Council.

Anna Rankin, who lives at Micklefield Hall and runs the wedding business with her husband Jamie, said: "The barn was built in 1580 and it was a grade II* listed building.

"It was falling down and it was a redundant agricultural barn. We were obliged to do something with it because it is a listed building and we wanted to do something.

"There was no point spending £500,000 just to keep it upright.

"We did our first wedding at the site in May 1999, we established a wedding market and the future of the barn became clear."

But after coming up with a business plan to help make the estate financially viable, Mrs Rankin said the family was "very disappointed by the lack of support" from the authority during the planning process.

The owners of the estate said they started discussing the plans with the council in 2002 and finally gained permission after an appeal hearing in the summer of 2009 - seven years after they drew up the first proposals.

She said: "It has been really hard work but it has become a passion.

"It is a very magical and special place. We didn’t want to lose it by turning it into a conference centre.

"We started doing up all the old buildings around the estate, including the old cricket pavilion and the barn was the biggest and most expensive job, which is why that was the last and it is providing a secure future.

"When we take a bride through or her mother and they start to cry, it is very exciting. We are very passionate about what we do and when we get that type of reaction, it is brilliant."

Mrs Rankin also praised the support of Grant Peter, who worked as a gardener for the parents of Anna Rankin.

She said: "Grant has been with us every step of the way."