In Focus - House design deemed worthy of landmark site

A new house has been allowed on a road at the entrance to an East Sussex town, after an inspector found that its design would be worthy of the prominent site.

Valley Home: proposed house design (right) deemed appropriate
Valley Home: proposed house design (right) deemed appropriate

A previous permission recognised that a building that was out of the ordinary and of surpassing quality would be needed for the brownfield site, which lay just outside the town's development boundary. The only point at issue was whether the proposal would live up to that expectation.

The inspector did not consider that the site needed to reflect the intricate and small-scale details of other houses in the street because it was separated from them. However, he felt that the colouring and form of the houses, with their angular pitched roofs, contributed to the wider context in which the proposal would be seen, as did former warehouse buildings and industrial sheds.

The grand scale of the landscape was also relevant, he considered. He noted that the South Downs was a large-scale landscape, the cliff behind the site was huge and the valley in which the site sat was wide and open. In that light, he reasoned that any relatively isolated building on the road needed to have a certain presence to prevent it looking unworthy of its situation. He found that the size, height and scale of the proposal, its angular roof form and the colour of the materials would stand out, yet would be appropriate to the wider context.

He acknowledged that such judgements must be subjective to an extent. However, he was reassured that the scheme was designed by an award-winning architect, the council's design and conservation officer welcomed the architectural approach, its architects' advisory panel considered the proposal an appropriate approach and the conservation area advisory group supported the application.

Inspector Paul Clark; Written representations

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