Subterranean home plan fails landscape tests

Unacceptable impact on a landscape character area (LCA) has ruled out plans for 17 partially subterranean green-roofed dwellings in the Lincolnshire countryside.

The proposal comprised 15 houses, including five affordable units, in a field and two more homes on different parcels of land outside a village. The sites were all on a scarp slope within a designated LCA protected by a saved local plan policy. This policy was technically out of date because the district did not have a five-year supply of deliverable housing land and sites in an emerging plan could not be relied upon, although the inspector noted that the landscape policy did not impose a blanket ban on development.

The inspector noted that the location of the sites just outside a high-ranking service village accorded with the emerging spatial strategy. In his view, all three proposals would support the economic and social dimensions of sustainable development set out in the NPPF. The key issue was whether the environmental effects outweighed these benefits.

In this respect, the inspector concluded that the development would be clearly read in views as an extension of the village’s built-up area towards another settlement. It would harm landscape character by eroding village identity and altering the balance between villages and countryside on the scarp slope, he found. He ruled that a proposed area of great landscape value designation in the emerging local plan could be accorded limited weight, although he still treated it as a material consideration.

Inspector: Paul Singleton; Written representations


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