Four dwelling scheme not considered rounding off

Four dwellings on the edge of a settlement on the Cornish coast were refused for harm to the appearance and character of the area and the scenic beauty of the area of outstanding natural beauty.

The first issue in the case was whether the proposed housing constituted "rounding off" of the settlement in the context of the council’s adopted policies on the matter. The latter referred to suitable rounding off sites being substantially enclosed but outside the main form of the settlement and being clearly defined by a physical feature e.g. a road. The policy also required any development to not visually extend the built form into the open countryside. The council had an informal advice note on the issue of rounding off which the inspector referred to as useful in assessing the case. This note referred to suitable sites for rounding off as likely to be surrounded on at least two sides by existing development. The proposal affected an area of open grassland used as a car park, located to the rear of three residential properties. The proposal retained some land for coastal visitor parking between the existing and proposed housing. The inspector held the scheme did not constitute rounding off because it was not surrounded by development on at least two sides and would therefore appear as an unwarranted extension of residential development into the countryside in conflict with the adopted policies. 

With regard to the impact of the proposal on the AONB, the inspector noted the area displayed a softer open coastal landscape with development set back from the sea front, allowing the beauty of the natural coastline to dominate. The inspector considered the proposed residential development would constitute a prominent form of urban encroachment which would fail to conserve or enhance the landscape character in this part of the Cornwall AONB. 

Inspector: S Hanson; Written representations

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