New plans for three homes at Linney House should go ahead

The planning saga for development in the grounds of Linney House has been long and tortuous. A succession of applications from 2012 to 2019 proposed between three and eight homes on the site. Two planning applications were approved. One for three homes, the other for four. Not satisfied with this number, developer James Hepworth applied for eight homes but this was rejected by a planning inspector in February 2021.

Hepworth has since sold the site to Shrewsbury-based Charter Homes. Charter proposes to proceed with the existing permission for three homes. However, it proposes to change the design of the houses – which I had previously called suburban and bourgeois – to a contemporary design of energy efficient homes (22/02226/VAR).

This application looks good to me. It is small scale and will preserve the woodland and wildlife corridor. I favour a contemporary design for housing on this site providing the right materials are used. On first reading, this application achieves that.

I hope we can now bring to the end of this lengthy saga which has consumed more time and effort that any other minor application I can recall.

The removal of trees was part of the reason why the application was rejected at appeal. In the current plans, no further trees will be removed though one small oak will be moved. Plot 3 has been designed around a London Plane, which will remain in place after its crown is raised.

Flooding concerns have been addressed in previous approved applications.

The illustration below shows the contrast between the previously approved scheme and the current proposal for one of the plots.

The illustration doesn’t in my view the new design justice. The buildings will be made of traditional materials, brick, wood and slate, along more modern materials such as glass and metal. There will be no connection to the gas system. The three homes will be highly insulated and have air source heat pumps.

I can’t see any reason why this scheme should not go ahead. Given previous approvals, I will be asking for it to be decided by officers rather going to the Southern Planning Committee.