Casebook: Appeal Cases - Housing: New build - Underground homes fail rural policy scrutiny

Proposals for two earth-sheltered dwellings in the Devon countryside have been ruled unacceptable by an inspector who considered that the scheme would require substantial and harmful improvements to a rural lane.

The appellant argued that the dwellings would inflict little damage on countryside character. But the inspector observed that the scheme failed to define the extent of the proposed gardens. Given the lack of outlook from the dwellings, he reasoned that the occupants would want to use their gardens at every opportunity. This would inevitably give rise to domestic planting and other ephemeral signs of residential occupation, he predicted.

He concluded that the scheme would detract from the area's rural character.

He also voiced concern that an access track with the "quintessential appearance of a rural lane" would need to be widened and resurfaced. In his view, this would destroy its character by creating a suburban road in the countryside.

DCS No: 100039194; Inspector: John Roberts; Hearing.

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