Proposed security improvements at a house in Berkshire used as a formal residence by the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates have been allowed despite acknowledgement that they would harm the openness of the metropolitan green belt.
The proposals involved the construction of a storage building over an underground garage, two security gatehouses, a refuse bin enclosure, an expanded car park, a new access road and access to the car park, relocation of a polytunnel and landscaping. The inspector found that each of the elements, with the exception of the proposed access road, would reduce the openness of the green belt, although in most cases by a small amount.
He noted that the grade II listed building was used to hold receptions attended by visiting heads of state and government representatives. He concluded that in the light of recent world events, particularly in the Middle East, concern for the security of occupiers and visitors to the house was well founded and a material factor.
The inspector held that harm to the openness of the green belt was outweighed by the special circumstances arising from security considerations. As the development would be confined to a part of the grounds situated well away from the main house and other listed features, he was satisfied that their settings would be unaffected.
DCS No: 34449422; Inspector: Philip Wilson; Written representations.