Zero-carbon house has research benefits

An inspector has allowed an isolated new house in the Pembrokeshire countryside, deciding the scheme qualified as truly innovative and would raise standards in zero-carbon design.

Development of the field outside a small village conflicted with national and local settlement policy but the appellant relied instead on the NPPF paragraph 55 exception for special circumstances.

The key feature of the proposal for a five-bedroomed house, which set it apart from other zero-carbon homes, was the involvement of Birmingham University. A unilateral undertaking committed the appellant to pre and post-commencement monitoring to certify compliance with carbon off-setting measures, and to allowing access to the building by university students and staff as a study project and for gathered data to be shared and disseminated to aid and inform future zero-carbon design. 

The inspector found the design concept interesting and reflective of traditional farm buildings anchored to the landscape by a location within a clump of trees. The inclusion of a four car garage was not considered a fatal flaw by the inspector who suggested paragraph 55 implied acceptance of unsustainable locations and that the university may reconsider the implications in their pre-commencement calculations.

Inspector: C J Ball; Hearing

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