Casebook: Appeal cases - Housing: New build. Country house rejected despite design praise

The demolition of two modern agricultural barns to enable the construction of a house in the Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty.(AONB) has been rejected despite praise for its exceptional design.

The scheme involved setting the house into the top slope of a dry valley, following the natural contours of the ground. Most of the house would be covered with earth but the central portion would project from the escarpment to form a promontory containing living and reception space. The building would be energy efficient using a biomass heating system and would recycle rain water.

In assessing whether the proposal merited an exception to rural restraint policy in the context of paragraph 11 of PPS7, the inspector agreed that it was of exceptional quality and outstanding design. But she was concerned about its impact on the AONB, which retained a strong structure and sense of place. The house would impinge on the open and tranquil valley and would not enhance the distinctive characteristics of the locality, she decided.

DCS No: 100039282; Inspector: Jean Jones; Inquiry.

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