The northern boundary of the appeal site abutted the conservation area whose character was strongly influenced by the imposing church which was sited approximately 200 metres to the north of the site. The position and height of the church permitted extensive views of it which extended well beyond the boundaries of the conservation area, an inspector noted. In addition, the rural surroundings of the conservation area were of notable importance to its significance and the first open area of land beyond the conservation area boundary, which included part of the appeal site, provided a clear historical linkage with the village.
As proposed the scheme would therefore project beyond the softer transition at this edge of the conservation area and the loss would be particularly apparent from various public rights of way. In turn the development would diminish the setting of the church, the inspector concluding that overall the harm would be less than substantial. The council had slightly in excess of a five-year supply of housing and there was significant merit in improving the supply of both open market and affordable dwellings. But these benefits did not outweigh the harm, he decided, and dismissed the appeal.
Inspector: Darren Hendley; Hearing