Subterranean house refused near JBO after appeal

Updated Nov 2018.  The Appeal after the Jan2018 refusal has been dismissed for a subterranean house near Jodrell Bank Observatory in the garden of Coachman’s Cottage.  PLANNING INSPECTORATE REFERENCE: APP/R0660/W/18/3206533.

The main reason given was the potential harm to the efficiency of JBO; the Appeal Inspector also stated……

“I therefore conclude, on balance, that the proposed development would be in an unsuitable location, having regard to local and national policy. Although any harm to the character and appearance of the countryside would be limited by the subterranean design of the dwelling, it would conflict with Policy PG 6 of the CELP, which seeks to protect the open countryside by carefully restricting development outside any settlement with a defined settlement boundary. It would also conflict with Policy HOU1 of the Neighbourhood Plan. Given that the Council has a sufficient supply of housing, there is no justification for breaching the spatial strategies of the CELP or the Neighbourhood Plan”

Both JBO and Goostrey PC had objected. Two reasons were given for the initial refusal:  firstly it would be in ‘Open Countryside’ and secondly, even though partially subterranean, would impair the efficiency of JBO.  Cheshire East’s Local Plan policies and Goostrey’s Neighbourhood Plan policies were quoted.   Link to the Officer’s Report:

The application is located in the open countryside where development is subject to stricter control and the policy focus is on preserving the openness, character and appearance of the countryside.  The application seeks permission for a new subterranean dwelling in the garden of Coachman’s Cottage. Policy PG 6 of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy 2017 (CELP) defines open countryside as the area outside of any settlement with a defined settlement boundary.  Within the Open Countryside only development that is essential for the purposes of agriculture, forestry, outdoor recreation, public infrastructure, essential works undertaken by public service authorities or statutory undertakers, or for other uses appropriate to a rural area will be permitted.  The policy allow several exceptions for new dwellings including where there is an opportunity for limited infilling, re-use of existing buildings and replacement buildings. Infilling is allowed in villages and ‘the infill of a small gap with one or two dwellings in an otherwise built up frontage elsewhere’.  The CELP defines infilling as ‘the development of a relatively small gap between existing buildings’.  The site could not reasonably be described as an infill plot, it does not have a built up frontage and is not located between two or more existing buildings but rather is adjacent to woodland and agricultural fields.  The proposal would not re-use an existing building and is not a replacement building.  As such it does not comply with any of the exceptions which allow new buildings.  New buildings are not permitted within the open countryside and therefore the principle of the development is not acceptable.

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