Scale and design scupper rural business expansion plans

A second holiday home in the grounds of a Bedfordshire listed house used as a dwelling and a wedding venue failed when an inspector decided the replica barn design reduced any public benefit from the proposal.

The appellant had restored the derelict country estate on the back of a successful wedding venue and holiday let business and now proposed to add a second short term let property to serve the wedding venue and offer holiday accommodation at other times. The additional accommodation had been designed in a barn style, with two storeys and a large glazed gable projection, to reflect an adjacent modern storage barn in an area that had historically contained farm buildings.

The inspector found that the significant scale and bulk of the proposed dwelling would be visible in a number of views around the site, and would not appear subservient to the main house, an effect compounded by its complex design which did not successfully emulate a converted barn. She decided the building would compete for attention with the listed building in spite of deliberate separation and undermine the hierarchy of buildings on the site. She noted the scale of the dwelling had been driven by an identified business need to provide large scale family accommodation with space for group activities.

Overall she decided the public benefits of the scheme, which related to the continuity of the business, investment in the listed house and wider tourism benefits, did not outweigh the harm to the heritage asset she had identified and dismissed the appeal, referring to the possibility of another more appropriate design solution which would secure such benefits.

Inspector: Claire Searson; Hearing

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