Burgage plot defended from loss of historic open space

A proposal for a house on an historic burgage plot in an Oxfordshire market town was dismissed by an inspector who found the loss of historic significance harmful to a conservation area.

The modest two-bedroom house was proposed to be set within and preserve the shape and boundary of an historic burgage plot in the town centre, but development would reduce the open space to a significant extent in order to achieve an acceptable level of living accommodation. The open nature of burgage plots, undeveloped since the foundation of the town in the middle ages, was identified as a key characteristic in the local plan.

Judging the harm to the conservation area from the development to be less than substantial, the inspector nevertheless found insufficient public benefit to outweigh this harm in applying the NPPF paragraph 134 test. The boost to housing where a five-year supply was lacking was limited to a single dwelling and the sustainable construction and location could be equally achieved on a less historically sensitive site. Also weighing against the proposal was a loss of outlook and sunlight to neighbours, and on balance the inspector dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Tom Gilbert-Wooldridge; Written representations

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