‘Hobbit House’ on Ludlow’s Linney refused planning permission – updated

Update: 29 January 2016

In September, planners from Shropshire Council refused permission for an earth dwelling on the Linney. Now Andrew Badlan has appealed to the planning inspectorate in an attempt to get the decision overturned. The appeal will be dealt with by written representations. Previous objections have been passed to the planning inspectorate. New or revised objections should lodged via the Appeals Casework Portal (ref APP/L3245/W/15/3141221). Deadline 3 March 2016.

Main article: 23 September 2015

A proposal for a single house adjacent to the castle on the Linney has been refused planning permission (15/00459/FUL). The proposed development has been given the nickname ‘hobbit house’ by the press because it would have been partially buried. However, it was a development in the setting of Ludlow Castle. That proved to be its downfall.

The plans had received objections from the Ludlow Conservation Area Advisory Committee, Ludlow town council, Historic England, Shropshire Council’s historic environment team and myself. Now Shropshire Council’s planners have formally rejected the scheme. My initial view was that this was an interesting and innovative scheme. However, when we looked at it in detail, we found that the scheme protruded towards the tennis courts more than first thought and was more a buried house than an underground house.

Linney_earth_photomontage

Planners rejected the site because it extended beyond the town’s development boundary. They were also concerned by the development’s proximity to the castle:

The proposed dwelling is located in a very sensitive area within Ludlow Conservation Area and the setting of Ludlow Castle, the Town Walls and St Laurence’s Church. Notwithstanding the earth covered design and proposed landscape mitigation, the Council considers that the proposal would be harmful to the character and setting of heritage assets.

I think this is the right decision. The innovative nature of the scheme is no reason to override the essential protections that local and national planning policies provide to our precious landscape. The two new buildings the Linney to the east of this site have done nothing to enhance the character of this area of Ludlow. I very much doubt that any housing proposal on this site could be made acceptable.

It is open to the developer to appeal the decision to the planning inspectorate.

The full reason for refusal

The proposal involves extending existing development further along the Linney beyond the development boundary defined in policy SDS3 of the South Shropshire Local Plan and policy S10 of the ’emerging’ Sites Allocation and Management of Development Plan. As a result development of the site would be contrary to the provisions of the development plan for the area and there are no material considerations which outweigh the presumption against development set out in the plan. In addition, the proposed dwelling is located in a very sensitive area within Ludlow Conservation Area and the setting of Ludlow Castle, the Town Walls and St Laurence’s Church. Notwithstanding the earth covered design and proposed landscape mitigation, the Council considers that the proposal would be harmful to the character and setting of heritage assets contrary to the Council’s Core Strategy policies CS3, CS5, CS6 and CS17 and national policies for the conservation and enhancement of the historic environment set out in Part 12 of the National Planning Policy Framework, in particular paragraphs 131, 132 and 134.