Use of wood effect weatherboarding would not erode local distinctiveness

The conversion of a former hotel to six apartments in a seaside Devon town in an area of outstanding natural beauty without complying with a specific materials condition on the permission was allowed with no harm to the character and appearance of the area or the AONB.

The appellants wanted to use wood effect horizontal weatherboarding instead of the natural slate cladding approved in the original approved drawings. The council had refused the proposal because they felt it did not respect the character of the building or the surrounding area. The inspector disagreed, considering that in combination with the degree of approved alterations to the original Edwardian building and the level of other modern materials used in the design, the horizontal weatherboarding would not look out of place, albeit she accepted it would look less traditional in appearance. Equally, she felt the siting of the building and consequently limited views of it, coupled with the limited use of the proposed material and the fact that many other buildings in the vicinity, small and large, also used timber cladding, meant that the proposal would not be out of keeping with the character of the area generally or the AONB in particular.

An award of costs against the council was refused, the inspector finding no unreasonable behaviour on their part.

Inspector; J F Powis; Written representations

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