'Harmful' Dunford House plans refused

'Harmful' plans to turn an historic West Lavington house into tourist accommodation have been refused.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 3:33 pm

The plans also include the demolition of a modern extension, external and internal alterations, erection of garage extension, pool house and associated landscaping.

Dunford House, in West Lavington, was owned by politician Richard Cobden before it was gifted to the YMCA on the condition that it would be used for educational purpose

The politician’s great-great-great-grandson, Nick Cobden-Wright, has been fighting plans to turn the historic site into anything other than community asset.

Dunford House

Objections flood plans to turn historic property near Midhurst into tourist accommodationThe decision to refuse the application was submitted on April 30.

Giving it's reasoning for refusing the application, the South Downs National Park planning authority stated: "The proposal, by reason of the scale, siting and design of the new buildings and the internal alterations and loss of historic fabric to the existing building, would result in less than substanital harm to the significance of historic character, fabric and setting of the Listed Building and fail to preserve and enhance its significance.

"This is not outweighed by any public benefits. The proposal by reason of the design and scale of the new buildings and layout of landscaping proposed would result in harm to the landscape character of the South Downs National Park and setting of the Listed Building, failing to conserve and enhance the existing landscape character of the South Downs National Park, which currently contributes to its distinctive historical character, pattern and evolution of the landscape and rich cultural heritage."

Historic Dunford House could become a wellness centre despite frictionThe plans were subject to a number of criticisms and objections from residents and stakeholders.

In an objection letter from the Midhurst Society, a spokesman raised issues with plans to make what is a currently a community facility into a single tourist let dwellinghouse.

The spokesman added: “Further the proposed scheme does not deliver any significant heritage benefits and there are no measures to preserve the site’s culturally significant features and they may be destroyed.

“The proposed ‘luxury’ dwelling is not in keeping with the area or the property’s historic fabric.

“This application does not represent ‘optimal viable use of a heritage asset’."

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