Carefully designed farmstead style complex would still appear "inauthentic"

A farmstead-style complex of five dwellings, to replace an agricultural barn, were refused on farmland at the edge of a village in Oxfordshire for their harm to the appearance and character of the area, the natural beauty of the landscape of the designated area of outstanding natural beauty as well as harm to the setting of the surrounding conservation area and adjacent listed buildings.

In assessing the impacts of the proposal on the adjacent listed buildings, the inspector held the close juxtaposition of the proposed "farmstead style complex" of buildings would undermine the significance of the nearby grade II listed farmhouse which had historically marked the entrance to the village for 250 years. She also felt that the proposal would introduce built form extending the village boundary and eroding the rural setting of the listed farmhouse and another grade II listed building close by, resulting in less than substantial harm to their settings. In respect of the proposal’s impact on the adjacent conservation area, the inspector considered the scheme would introduce built form which would erode the "clarity of the current built form to the rural hinterland transition", would appear clumsy and ill-conceived and inauthentic. In weighing up the cumulative harms against the public benefits, the inspector held the new homes in an area of need would be of moderate weight, but this did not outweigh the great weight he afforded to the conservation of the heritage assets.

In terms of the proposal’s landscape effects, the inspector held the prominent location of the proposed dwellings in what was a hill-top location, in addition to the site’s strong visual connection to the surrounding countryside and AONB, meant that there would be material harm to the character and appearance of the area and the natural beauty of the landscape. She felt this harm would not be mitigated through the position and design of the dwellings near the existing village development nor by the proposed landscaping. 

Inspector: A J Mageean; Written representations


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