CASEBOOK: Appeal cases - Listed buildings - Church extension harm judged to outweigh benefits

A council's opposition to an extension to a grade II* listed church in the West Midlands has been supported by an inspector despite advice from planning officers that the scheme should have been approved.

The church had a medieval tower and some early stonework survived, but it had been mostly rebuilt in the 1850s. The proposed two-storey extension was to be constructed in brick with vertical glazing. The church claimed that the extra space would facilitate the work of various church and community groups.

While acknowledging these benefits, the inspector concluded that the sheer size of the extension relative to the footprint of the existing church and its proximity to an adjoining graveyard would create an excessively dominant and unsympathetic addition that would fail to respect the character of the building.

In his view, the extension would represent a prominent, discordant and undistinguished structure that would detract from the fine qualities of the church and deprive it of much of its undeveloped setting. Although English Heritage and the council's conservation officer had concluded that the scheme was acceptable, the inspector said that he had considered the matter afresh and had come to a different view.

DCS No: 39223531; Inspector: David Nicholson; Inquiry.

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