DC Casebook: Housing: New Build - Landmark judged incongruous in suburb

A development of 83 homes at a former concrete works in a Wiltshire town has been rejected on the grounds that a proposed block of flats would appear incongruous in the street scene.

The site lay in a suburban area extending towards a village. The proposal included two to two-and-a-half storey homes with pitched roofs and two blocks of three to four-storey flat-roofed apartments with a striking contemporary des- ign. The block closest to the road had been conceived as a landmark building to justify its distinctive character.

The inspector observed that the approach road was straight with long views of the village. He found the setting generally undistinguished, with a suburban road running past a garage sales forecourt towards a mixture of unremarkable housing. He surmised that a railway bridge might have historic significance but did not see it as obviously special. He noted that signs defining the entrance to the village were out of sight of the proposal.

On this basis, he found little about the location to justify a distinguished landmark building. He considered that the suburban setting created a clear context for the design, in which a widely visible and brand-new character would not be justified. He concluded that the contemporary flats would appear incongruous in the traditional suburban housing context.

Inspector: David Saul; Hearing

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