Monday, 21 August 2017

Modern house will ‘damage’ character of rural Chilterns

A BARN in Northend is set to be demolished and replaced with a two-storey house after planning permission was granted

A BARN in Northend is set to be demolished and replaced with a two-storey house after planning permission was granted by South Oxfordshire District Council.

The council gave consent for the house to be built within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty despite objections from Watlington Parish Council.

An existing farmhouse and large barn on the site will now be demolished and the new house will be repositioned on to the site of the barn, which was built in the Sixties.

A smaller barn will be retained and will incorporate a home office and garaging.

Rhian Woods, chair of the parish council’s planning committee, spoke against the application at a meeting of the district council’s planning committee.

She said the parish council was particularly concerned about the house’s effect on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the house’s glazed gable rear elevation which would be visible from a footpath. Cllr Wood said: “The overall effect of this proposal, incorporating a replacement house will have a very prominent and dominant feature in the landscape within open countryside and will cause damage to the overall character and attractiveness of this part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“It is, as a whole, not at all typical of development found traditionally in the Chilterns in relation to its designs and proportions.”

But district councillors voted unanimously in favour of the application.

Councillor Ann Midwinter said the house had a “wonderful design”.

“I would love to live there,” she said. “It would be a lovely place.

“I just think it would improve the area no end. I think it is a great idea to have a nice family home there.”

Councillor John Cotton said: “There seems to be a strong urge to make something that is considerate and acknowledging of its settting.”

Councillor Malcolm Leonard also spoke in support of the application.

“This will be a vast improvement on what is there at the moment and I think it does fit in with the area,” he said.

District Council planning officer Tom Wyatt, who recommended the application for approval, said the house would have an “acceptable visual and landscape impact”.

He said the existing dwelling could be extended within permitted development laws to make it much larger than the house proposed within the application.

John Caroll, planning agent for the applicant, said his client had asked him to create a “Chiltern farmhouse with a modern contemporary feel inside”.

He said the new house would replace the “unsightly and almost uninhabitable” existing dwelling.

But Cllr Woods said the parish council felt that the new house would “damage an area within our parish”.

“We realise there was nothing we could do about the size of the dwelling proposed.

“What we were most upset about was the location of the housing and the design which is quite frankly not suitable for the area,” she said.

“It is something that we felt quite passionately about because it is a site within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and that was totally disregarded by some councillors.”

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