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Controversial modern farmhouse plan at Blakeney recommended for approval

PUBLISHED: 10:28 03 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:28 03 September 2014

A view of the Glaven Valley from Bridgefoot Lane, Wiveton, which the Glaven Valley Protection Group fears would be spoilt if the farmhouse application is approved. Picture: SUBMITTED.

A view of the Glaven Valley from Bridgefoot Lane, Wiveton, which the Glaven Valley Protection Group fears would be spoilt if the farmhouse application is approved. Picture: SUBMITTED.

Archant

Plans for a contemporary-style “farmstead” in a north Norfolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are being recommended for approval - despite more than 100 objections and the formation of a pressure group.

The scheme would see an L-shaped, two-and-a-half storey house, with five bedrooms, built at Three Owls Farm, Saxlingham Road, Blakeney.

Objectors writing to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) repeatedly describe the building as too large, “brutalist”, “industrial”, and a “blot on the landscape”.

They fear it would create a precedent in the AONB, which also houses the Glaven Valley conservation area, and claim the scheme contravenes a raft of NNDC planning policies designed to protect the area.

Wiveton Parish Council has said, if approved by NNDC planners on September 4, it would seek a judicial review. Blakeney Parish Council is also against the scheme.

Applicant Kathy Cargill submitted revised plans for the site after concerns that an earlier farmhouse design was too tall.

An existing 1950s bungalow, outbuildings and barn would be demolished as part of the scheme.

The farmstead, intended as a family home, would be built in soft Norfolk red bricks, with natural finish timber cladding on the walls and a “smut-finished” clay Norfolk pantile roof.

English Heritage, which had objected to the original plan, has no objections to the revised application, which is 1.8m shorter.

A report to Thursday’s NNDC development committee, which will decide the plan, says the ridge height of the house would “only be approximately 2.8m above that of the (existing) bungalow”.

At 515 m sq, the floor area of the farmstead would be about 145 m sq larger than the bungalow which the report says would not be a disproportionately large increase in height or scale.

The report adds: “...it is considered that this is a site which is capable of accommodating a contemporary-style dwelling for the 21st century, rather than a pastiche of the past.”

If the right materials were used to build it, the report says the house would not mar the AONB or harm the Glaven Valley Conservation Area, or other heritage assets, including the grade one-listed parish churches of Blakeney, Wiveton and Cley.

But Godfrey Sayers, chairman of Wiveton Parish Council, and the Glaven Valley Protection Group, formed as a result of the application, said the “enormous” building would be the second most conspicuous feature, after Wiveton Church, in the stunning view of the Glaven Valley conservation area from the east.

The 25-strong group was particularly worried about a precedent being set if the district council chose to “drive a coach and horses through its planning policies,” and approve the scheme.

Mr Sayers added: “We are not opposed to development on that site but the scale of this is outrageous.”

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