Water tank home conversion ruled out in heritage landscape

Harm to Cornwall's mining landscape has been cited in a decision to refuse permission for conversion of a disused water storage tank to a lifetime home.

The existing structure occupied a parcel of land in one corner of a field adjacent to a belt of trees marking the site of a former mine associated with the county’s mining landscape world heritage site (WHS). The inspector accepted that the tree belt served as a natural backdrop that reduced the tank’s prominence in the landscape. In his view, the tank had a neutral impact owing to its muted appearance and utilitarian form.

However, the appeal proposal involved substantially extending the existing structure to form a large dwelling with new two-storey wings, a single-storey addition at the rear and a prominent lantern structure at the top to provide daylight. In the inspector’s view, the existing structure’s well-weathered utilitarian appearance and its simple form would be entirely lost under the proposals. He judged that the new dwelling, being clearly visible from the site entrance, would appear out of place in its isolated countryside setting. 

He was also concerned that the tree belt and former mine would be dominated by the substantially extended building, since its scale and massing would be entirely different from traditional local buildings and could not be considered locally distinctive architecture. As a result, he ruled, the outstanding universal value of an attribute of the WHS would be harmed. He saw no evidence that the proposal would be truly outstanding or innovative, thus meeting the exceptions policy in paragraph 79 (e) of the NPPF, or represent a public benefit outweighing the harm identified. 

Inspector: Andrew Tucker; Written representations


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