Heritage Consultancy, Unique Homes and Self Build

A complex planning case in “The prettiest village in Suffolk”

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A complex case – where our Planning Policy Appraisal and Heritage Impact Assessment helped secure planning success…

Background: The village is often called “the prettiest village in Suffolk” with 17th houses rich in heritage. This project was for a new barn-style dwelling on an empty plot, that has historically never had a development on it, adjacent to a Conservation Area, several Listed Buildings and with a complex planning history.

Previously a planning application for what the client wanted had been refused. A subsequent application was approved, that didn’t meet the clients wishes and was inappropriate to the setting.  So, the client commissioned Parker Planning Services on a third option that would hopefully be supported by the council.

Outcome: The chances for planning success here were slim. Despite this, we gave significant support to the clients and architects on the design to assist in building the case. Consequently, the committee approved the application when they overturned the planning officer’s recommendation to refuse the application, by a significant majority of 8/2 and therefore securing this positive planning approval.

Our Input: Our Planning Policy Appraisal for a full planning application for a single barn conversion style house and cart lodge. Here, a prior approved planning application established the principal of residential development on the site.

The councils recommendations for refusal were based on elements including scale, mass and visual intrusion to the setting of the heritage asset. The council stated the proposal would result in a low level of less than substantial harm and be a noticeable intrusion to the site and Chelsworth Conservation Area, and not in accordance with aspects of the Local Plan.

The new dwelling presented a more sympathetic solution to the surrounding area’s character. Our town planning consultants presented the case that the building was unlikely to be a visual intrusion. Being an architect-led design in the style of a traditional Suffolk barn conversion with a modern flair, it also raises the standard of design in the locality.

Also, at the time, the emerging joint Local Plan was still to be examined, so could only be given limited weight in the application’s determination.

The application was strongly supported by our Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) which gave extensive detail on the surrounding area and the adjacent listed buildings. The HIA concluded less than substantial or minimal harm to the surrounding heritage assets.

Our heritage consultant researched and presented a very detailed summary on the recent planning applications nearby.  This concluded the importance for the Council to be consistent in their approach and application of policy and legislation. In the three examples we described – all on the same road, it appeared that a different approach to harm and impact to the setting and character of the various heritage assets was employed by the council. We highlighted the importance for precedent setting.

This was a resounding successful decision for our client, and we look forward to seeing this high-quality design with high quality eco-credentials develop, and create a long-lasting home for many years to come.

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