A planning inspector, faced with two different appeals for consent to replace an old house at Ebernoe, has dismissed one and allowed the other.
The outcome means the second appellant, Ben Wibaut, can replace Wassell Mill House at Streels Lane, despite worries voiced by Chichester District Council and Ebernoe residents that a precedent will be set for similar proposals elsewhere in the rural hamlet.
The first appellant, Anthony Lawson, challenged the district council’s refusal to allow his scheme. The authority’s decision was backed by the inspector, Lesley Coffey.
She considered the main issue in both cases was the effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding countryside ‘with particular reference to the location of the site within the South Downs National Park’.
She notes in her report the present house is a two-storey dwelling close to the road frontage, but barely perceptible because of tree and hedge screening and its elevated location.
Mr Lawson’s proposal was to replace Wassell Mill House with a Georgian classical-style property with a substantial two-storey detached garage/store.
It was a well-designed and detailed building, the inspector said, and in terms of architectural style it would have similarities with the hamlet’s Ebernoe House, although wings to either side would add a greater degree of formality.
But she concluded a dwelling of the size and proportions proposed, coupled with the garage adding bulk and prominence, would dominate views of the landscape and detract from the landscape.
The second appellant, Mr Wibaut, proposed a dwelling of Arts and Crafts Design, the inspector said.
It would be significantlynarrower in width than the Georgian-style property, although greater in depth. Its overall height would be lower.
Although the house would be noticeable from a public footpath, due to its lower height and greatly reduced width, it would sit within the landscape rather than dominate it, the inspector said.
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