Housing judged damaging to setting of buried Roman remains

An inspector rejected an outline proposal for fourteen houses on agricultural land adjacent a Roman road in the Derbyshire countryside after considering the effects of development on the buried Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The heritage asset had been discovered and designated as a result of archaeological survey work during the course of the application and was part of only a small proportion of this particular Roman Road known to survive physically. The appellant had revised their proposals to reduce the number of houses from thirty-eight in order to accommodate the designated twenty metre wide strip extending across the width of the site.

The inspector observed that in the illustrative layout, the open land of the heritage asset had been used to enhance the development, with houses facing onto it from a close distance of only two metres. She acknowledged that, in effect, there was nothing to see of the Roman road as it was buried underground, but held that development in such close proximity would alter its setting by diminishing the sense of openness experienced. She further concluded that the site could not accommodate fourteen houses in any alternative layout which would preserve this setting. Giving great weight to conservation of the highly significant heritage asset, the inspector concluded that the public benefit of housing did not outweigh the harm that would be caused to its setting, irrespective of any housing shortfall, giving little weight to the appellant’s offer of interpretation or claim that continued agricultural use of the land could damage the asset.

Inspector: Anne Jordan; Written representations

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