Eco home fails to outweigh less than substantial heritage harm

A single storey eco-home in Somerset failed for a second time to win the support of an inspector.

The proposal was a resubmission of a previous scheme which had been dismissed at appeal, and sought to address concerns raised by the inspector. The new inspector appreciated that this had been done and that the dwelling would be relatively innovative in its design, but did not conclude that the appellant had convincingly demonstrated that the merits of the proposal outweighed harm to a village conservation area.

The site lay opposite cottages and behind a mature hedgerow forming the edge of the conservation area, on an open field part of the countryside setting of the village. Much of the dwelling would be beneath ground and feature a vegetated roof. In many views the building would be inconspicuous. However, the creation of a new entrance entailing the removal of 10 metres of hedgerow was judged by the inspector to undermine the rural character of the village conservation area. Although this harm would be less than substantial, the only benefits of the development were held to be private, and so failed the NPPF paragraph 134 test. Despite finding there would be no flood risk in respect of the issue of drainage, the inspector dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Colin Cresswell; Written representations

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