DC Casebook: Community Facilities - Park school design declared out of place

A new school in a Lake District village has been turned down on the grounds that its contemporary design would not be sufficiently sympathetic to its traditional context.

The site was mainly open with mature land-scaping. Part of it was occupied by an existing school and a master's house. The new building would consist of a number of linked pods, the largest accommodating community functions. It would face the existing school and be covered in local slate. Although the roof would be flat, the inspector acknowledged that this would relate successfully to its neighbours.

However, he did not consider that it would successfully anchor the other elements of the building in their traditional context. These elements were dominated by two large classroom pods that were organic in form and said to be inspired by the rounded shape of the surrounding fells. He considered that they were less successful in relating to their immediate context of traditional built form.

The inspector held that the impact of the organic forms would be compounded by the use of a white marine coating encasing almost the whole of the classroom pods. This non-traditional material would be a dominant visual element, he judged. He also expressed concern about its weathering properties, given the area's typically high rainfall.

He accepted that the scheme might be appropriate in an isolated and open landscape setting but held that it was insufficiently sympathetic to its immediate context. The size and prominence of the white pods would announce their presence in an uncompromising and assertive manner to the detriment of the area's appearance, he ruled. Inadequate consideration of flood risk reinforced his reasons for dismissing the appeal.

DCS Number 100-069-054

Inspector Graham Snowdon; Written representations.

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