Exceptional design claim rejected in national park landscape

In assessing a proposal for the erection of a dwelling within the South Downs national park an inspector has determined that the design was interesting but not of exceptional quality.

The appellant had gone to considerable lengths to design a building which blended into the sensitive landscape, involving three timber-clad ‘pods’ raised off the ground with glazed links. These would ‘inhabit’ the lower tree canopy and the angled supporting columns were designed to reflect tree trunks and branches, the inspector observed. It would have a zero carbon design and flora and fauna could inhabit the space beneath the pods.

In assessing the scheme against paragraph 55 of the national planning policy framework which provided support for the construction of isolated dwellings of exceptional quality, the inspector decided that the innovative form was largely due to the need to mitigate the harmful impact within a sensitive woodland site. The site did not require any building to be set upon it and pods set on stilts were not particularly innovative. More dwellings were being built to zero carbon standards and despite a design panel supporting the scheme the need to protect the special character of the national park should prevail despite the scheme exhibiting some innovative qualities.

Inspector: Matthew Nunn; Written representations

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