DC Casebook: Housing: New build - Sunken rural house fails exemption test

An inspector has rejected a proposal for an isolated dwelling in the Hampshire countryside after concluding that it would not respond fully to its immediate setting.

Under the proposal, the house would be partially sunk into the sloping site and much of it would be covered in grass. The inspector considered that in principle the design could represent a high standard, possibly the highest, in contemporary architecture. In his view, the main visible structural elements had a pleasing continuous curve, described by the architect as an "aerodynamic profile". He judged that the building would appear an intriguing and enigmatic element in the landscape with a distinctive sculptural quality.

However, he considered it possible to develop a design that took more detailed account of the site's complex topography. A large-scale contoured plan would be required to show how a semi-sunken design could enhance its immediate setting to the extent needed to satisfy the PPS7 exemption, he held. Without this he could only judge from the drawings, which he found defective in showing the required enhancement of the setting.

DCS Number 100-058-296

Inspector Colin Tyrrell; Hearing

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