DC Casebook: Housing: Conversion - Listed icehouse conversion turned down

A reporter has refused to sanction the conversion and extension of a listed icehouse in Aberdeenshire after finding that the appellants had provided insufficient information on the scheme's impact.

Most of the building was underground, the only visible part being a stone wall facing the sea. The roof comprised a vaulted arch below ground level with a grass-covered roof. The appellants proposed to extend the building with a glazed two-storey conservatory, breaking through the arch to create an atrium providing natural light.

The reporter noted that the icehouse was the last of its kind in the area. However, he accepted that its architectural and historic importance could only be preserved if a beneficial use were found for it. A sensitive conversion for residential use would provide a unique experience for occupants and visitors, he mused. Although subdivision would alter perceptions of the large underground space, he was satisfied that the glazed conservatory would enable some of the volume to be seen and appreciated.

However, he was concerned that the submitted drawings were schematic, with no significant level of detail. He found little or no information on the profile of the glazing or how the works would comply with building regulation standards. In his view, this was a serious shortcoming because it was necessary to ensure that the works carried out were the minimum required to protect the site's architectural importance. These defects could not be remedied by imposing conditions, he held.

Reporter: Roger Wilson; Written representations.

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