A revised application has been submitted with some minor changes. The CRA objections remain.
The CRA sees no reason to change its original objections to this application in the light of these revised plans. The amendments made make no material difference to the adverse impact this proposed development would have upon this Grade II building, the neighbouring properties and the local environment. The Conservation Officer should be reconsulted on this amended application.
(1) As previously stated, the main driver of the proposal is said to be to bring the house back into stock as a large single, family home either for rental or sale on the open market. However, the level and extent of the proposed development and redevelopment of the site sits badly with the proposition of this being for one single rental or sale as a 'family' home. The development proposals would appear to more be in keeping with a conversion to a commercial enterprise such as a small country house hotel with the requisite facilities and staff accommodation on site, rather than a family home.
(2) The additional development eg conversion of the existing garage; the pool and leisure complex replacing the greenhouse and potting shed within the kitchen garden; the redevelopment of the existing stable block for residential use and then the potential later addition of a new stable complex with further accommodation and a menage, near to the boundary of the estate and Fair Lane, itself requiring an additional entrance to the estate, would appear excessive to that which might be expected to be needed for a rented family home. Whilst modernising and making safe the house's basic facilities are clearly necessary, not all the development proposed can be justified on these grounds especially given its location in the Green Belt and in an Area of Great Landscape Value. Indeed, the redevelopment of the existing garage block would actually seem to propose converting the garage complex into a 2 bed-property with a double garage rather than a garage with a flat above. This additional development, although supposedly ancillary to the family home, would appear to be inappropriate in the Green Belt and an intrusion into its openness with subsequent adverse impact upon the immediate environment and wildlife.
(3) The renovation of the hard landscape tennis court may have an adverse impact upon the trees and landscape in the immediate vicinity. With the addition of external lighting, this will add to the adverse impact on the immediate environment with the potential for light pollution. This is a particular problem in a rural area like this, where dark skies at night are one of the special and intrinsic qualities of the rural landscape. Artificial lighting can also destroy local character by introducing a suburban feel to the area.
(4) The number; scale and location of the ancillary development proposals, especially those requiring their own separate access, strongly support a view that these will be open to external visitors and lend themselves to a separate commercial enterprise. If these facilities were for use by any family occupying the main house, they would be more conveniently sited closer to the main property and not need their own separate entrance. A condition could perhaps be added that the estate is kept, as the applicant states is the plan, as one family home and is not therefore used for commercial undertakings.
(5) There is the potential for an adverse Impact on the trees and the local green environment, that are a prominent feature of the site and the layout of the grounds of this level of development. These features both greatly contribute to the Green Belt setting. It is not only the impact of development on the trees and other landscape features but also the extent of the additional hard-standing that has been introduced in the development that has the potential to impact adversely upon the grounds and their setting and threaten the integrity of the heritage and the openness of the estate.