New homes would harm setting of adjoining AONB

20 dwellings on agricultural land on the edge of a village in Kent were refused for their harmful impact on landscape character and the setting of an adjoining area of outstanding natural beauty.

The main issues in the case revolved around the impact of the proposed housing on the landscape of the area and the adjoining area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). The site was separated form the built-up area of the nearby village by a lake and extensive planting; a railway line and planting performed a similar role to established development to the south of the site.

The inspector noted the site was located in open countryside, a special landscape area and was directly adjacent to, and formed part of the setting of, the AONB. In assessing its location, the inspector held the site had greater affinity with the countryside to its north and west, was of high value and was highly sensitive to change. An inspector at a previous appeal at the site for 40 dwellings had come to the same conclusion. Attempts to reduce the heights of the houses and address planting schmes in this latest proposal did not, the inspector felt, reduce their visibility from medium and long distance views. He concluded the proposal would have an urbanising effect and result in a discordant incursion into the open countryside causing significant harm to the landscape character and setting of the AONB contrary to local and national policy.

Inspector: Simon Warder; Written Representations

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