Controversial modern farmhouse application for Blakeney countryside turned down
16:14 05 September 2014
Countryside campaigners are overjoyed after plans for a contemporary-style “farmstead” in a north Norfolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) were refused today.
Some 11 members of the North Norfolk District Council development committee voted to reject the application to build a two-and-a-half storey family home with five bedrooms at Three Owls Farms, Saxlingham Road, Blakeney.
The proposal, put forward by north Norfolk resident Kathy Cargill, was recommended for approval by council planning officers and conservation experts and backed by English Heritage. Two councillors voted against the refusal.
There were 170 letters of objection sent to the authority about the scheme which would have seen a 1950s bungalow, outbuildings and barn on the site demolished.
Objectors, including Wiveton and Blakeney parish councils, feared the design would set a precedent for more modern homes along that part of the coast and contravened council planning policies designed to protect the area; would adversely impact on the AONB, Glaven Valley and surrounding heritage buildings; and it was too large and not a replacement of the old buildings.
Committee member Richard Shepherd said: “We are the last line of defence in north Norfolk. This is not just an AONB, this is an iconic part of north Norfolk so we have to be careful.
“This is a plan with breathtaking arrogance and drives a tank through current planning laws. The design is very reminiscent of an open prison. The mass footprint and design is all wrong. It would certainly set a precedent.”
Planning officers recommended approval because the new home would not detract from the special qualities of the AONB; would not harm the character of the Glaven Valley conservation area or other heritage assets; and would not result in a disproportionately large increase in the height or scale of the original home.
Keith Schilling, the applicant’s partner, said they were mindful of local feeling and had written to everyone who objected to visit the farm, but no-one took up the offer.
He described the current buildings and site as an “eyesore” and said one part of the new L-shaped home would be 9.5 feet higher than the current bungalow.
The other two would be the same height and only one third of the development would be visible to the Glaven Valley.
He said: “We are a north Norfolk family who are passionate about this property. We feel privileged to be here and hope to enhance this site.”
Part of the application included creating hedgerows, heathland to encourage wildlife.
At the end of the discussion Mr Schilling said the couple would appeal the decision.
Godfrey Sayers, chairman of Wiveton Parish Council and the Glaven Valley Protection Group, said: “I’m overjoyed. Common sense and the spirit of the place has prevailed.”
Tony Faulkner, chairman of Blakeney Parish Council, said people would be relieved because there was a lot of worry about the scheme.
The plans were refused because the size and location of the farmstead would increase its impact on the countryside and its appearance would detract from the special qualities of the AONB and have an adverse impact on the Glaven Valley.
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