House extension could harm scheduled ancient monument

An inspector has refused a replacement single storey side extension at a locally listed farmhouse in Berkshire for harm to the character and appearance of the host building and to the significance of the surrounding scheduled ancient monument.

The proposed replacement side extension at the nineteenth century former farmhouse was wider, higher and of more modern design than the existing two separate extensions it was to replace. The inspector considered the farmhouse’s significance stemmed from its architectural detailing and strong sense of symmetry on the front elevation and agreed with the council's local listing in this regard. The inspector considered that due to a combination of the proposed replacement extension’s height, width, massing and detailed design including expansive glazing, it would not read as a subservient part of the host property, as the existing extensions did, and would appear as an incongruous addition which would fail to harmonise with the existing building, undermine its architectural legibility and fail to preserve its special interest and significance.

The appeal site was set within a 129-hectare scheduled monument of a Roman town, close to a well-preserved town wall and defensive ditch. In this regard the ground beneath the appeal property was included within the SAM and therefore the proposed extension had the potential to impact upon not only the setting of the above ground elements of the SAM but also its underground archaeology, both being identified as important to its significance. However, the appellant had submitted no archaeological evaluation of their proposal, nor any examination of the appropriate historic environment record as required by paragraph 189 of the NPPF. The inspector was unable to conclude, therefore, that the extension would not harm the significance of the SAM and as such was in conflict with local and national polices to protect such heritage assets. 

Inspector: S Leonard; Written representations

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