Enabling development not minimum works necessary

A dwelling attached to a dilapidated listed cottage in the Essex green belt was refused for harm to the green belt through inappropriateness and loss of openness and harm to the listed building and its setting, not outweighed by the public benefit of the enabling development of restoring the original building.

The inspector considered the scale and siting of the proposed three-bedroomed dwelling addition to the original timber-framed, seventeenth century cottage would represent inappropriate development resulting in a loss of openness and harm to the nationally recognised purpose of including land within the green belt. He also found the proposal would intrude into the wooded and rural landscape character of the area contrary to adopted local plan policies seeking to protect such character.  

In terms of the impact of the proposal on the listed cottage, the inspector considered the scale, design and layout of the proposal would lead to the listed building being very much the minor element in the scheme. He felt the site would become a large three-bedroom modern house overwhelming a relatively small former cottage to which it was linked but appeared to have no functional or visual relationship with. He was not persuaded that the benefits to the listed building, through its restoration, were clearly defined or that the works were the minimum necessary to achieve the benefits, nor how the conservation of the heritage asset would be secured. The inspector concluded the proposed works would have a negative and substantially harmful effect on the special architectural and historic interest of what was an unusually unspoiled cottage and its setting. He did not find any evidenced substantiation for this harm on the basis of paragraph 195 of the NPPF with regard to viability, alternative options or public benefits. In his planning balance of heritage and green belt harms, the inspector determined the harm to the significance of the designated heritage asset, the loss of openness to the green belt, and landscape harm to the green belt were not outweighed by the public benefits of the proposed enabling development of restoring the listed cottage. 

Inspector: Christian Leigh; Written representations


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