Item 17 Mole End, Forsham Lane, Chart Sutton
Page Number 71
An email has been received from the applicant’s agent. This raises the issue of the need to support farming within the countryside, the extent of the abutment of the proposal to the existing building and the unsuitability of the previously approved underground extension.
Whilst policy SP17 does indeed require a level of flexibility in relation to certain forms of development in the countryside in order to support farming, this proposal is not for a functional farm related development, such as an extension to an existing farm store building for example, but is instead simply for an extension to a residential dwelling. Therefore, it is not appropriate to give significant weight to the fact that the applicant is employed in farming, since this is purely a proposal for an extension to a residential dwelling and would not contribute towards the viability of the farm in itself. It is noted that the email refers to a need for additional accommodation for grandchildren - this is not a proposal for a unit of farmworker’s accommodation. This is also an open market dwelling so could, at any point, be sold away from the farm – it is not a tied agricultural dwelling and no significant weight can be given to the fact that the surrounding farmland might be farmed by the family in the future. Again, whilst the fact that the farm provides open access to walking groups and hosts local school visits is commendable, this is not a relevant consideration to be given any significant weight in the determination of this application.
With regards to the area of abutment of the extension, it is unclear how the agent has calculated this to be 7% of the external wall area of the barn. The South elevation indicates that the extension, including its roof, would cover more, in the region of 25%, of the wall area of that elevation. Notwithstanding this, however, it is still considered that, as set out in the report, the key issue is that due to its physical attachment, its length and siting, the proposal would destroy the simple, compact and symmetrical form of the existing building, which is a non-designated heritage asset. It is emphasised that the conservation officer has objected to the proposal. He considers that the simple, vernacular form of the building has local significance and this would be destroyed by the proposed development.
The agent refers to the fact that there are considered to be surface water flooding issues relating to the construction of the previously approved underground extension. However, notwithstanding this, it has not been demonstrated that this is the least harmful means of providing enhanced accommodation. For example, it is considered that additional accommodation could, subject to a sympathetic scale and design, be provided within a detached annex, which would not have the same adverse impact upon the form and character of this non-designated heritage asset as this proposal, but such discussions would need to be undertaken via the pre-application procedure and take into account issues such as trees and historic site layout. The agent refers to a potential glazed link extension, however, again this would need to be subject to a separate application for pre-application advice, although it is pointed out that such a proposal is likely to raise similar issues due to the physical attachment to the barn and likely adverse impact upon its compact and symmetrical, functional form.
Recommendation remains unchanged.